North Fork, White River - Flood Impacts and Riparian Zone


This project is designed to provide empirical data on the immediate disturbance effects on riparian forest and LWD responses to extreme floods in humid regions. The project area is the North Fork River which flows 80 km from Mountain Grove, MO to the USGS gage at Tecumseh. The project focuses on the impacts from the April 29-30, 2017 flood. The flood was the largest flood on record and was reported to approximate the 1000-year flood by the National Weather Service. The goal of the project is to evaluate the biogeomorphic impacts of extreme flooding. Research will clarify whether rare, extreme events in humid temperate systems are qualitatively and quantitatively different from those of smaller floods, and will evaluate if the trajectory of “recovery” is likely to be different.


  1. Determine whether tree mortality is systematically related to biological variables using cluster analysis, ANOVA, and regression to analyze the distribution and orientation of trees and large woody debris;
  2. Determine whether tree mortality is systematically related to hydro-geomorphic variables using spatial analysis of landform type, valley form, high and low flow velocity zones, and substrate;
  3. Evaluate distribution relationships between channel unit location, flood characteristics, and geomorphic response of large woody debris;
  4. Analyze sub-watershed site survey results and evaluate whether disturbance patterns vary according to scale;
  5. Utilize drone imagery data to map individual pieces of large woody debris and estimate the volume of large woody debris deposited overbank during the flood.


National Science Foundation