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Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed, Arizona (Sediment)

The Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed (WGEW) sediment collection program, established in 1953, provides event-based data for semiarid rangeland erosion, sediment transport, and yield research. Sediment loads carried through the channel network on the WGEW are high, but are typical of semiarid rangelands, and are influenced by soils, geologic parent material, and geomorphology. Typical monsoon thunderstorm generated flows in dryland regions are characterized by high velocities, short durations, and heavy and coarse sediment loads. Sediment is measured in conjunction with discharge measurements [Stone et al., 2008] that are integral to converting sample values to runoff event-based values. Sampling initiated in the 1960s was done with point intake pump samplers. The single point sampler intake tubes were later replaced with tubes that rise in response to flow and are perforated to collect depth integrated samples. Sampling with each of these systems is limited to suspended sediment smaller than the 0.635 cm diameter of the intake slots. Pump samplers are in use at the outlet of small watersheds where overland flow is the dominant hydrologic driver of sediment transport, and particles are small. As watershed size increases on the WGEW, in general, the channel network can dominate sediment delivery processes as it evolves to carry an increasingly coarse, and vertically sorted, sediment load. A traversing slot sediment sampler was designed in response to limitations of alternative sampling methods such as the pump sampler. The data collection network was expanded in 2002 and pit traps were added below the overfall at flumes 63.103 and 63.104. Analysis of these data, and efforts to process and make available the historic data, are ongoing.

Release Date
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Area
POLYGON ((-110.2 31.773, -109.9 31.773, -109.9 31.662, -110.2 31.662))
U.S. Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service
Temporal Coverage
January 1, 1953
Contact Name
Armendariz, Gerardo
Contact Email
Public Access Level
Program Code
005:040 - Department of Agriculture - National Research
Bureau Code
005:18 - Agricultural Research Service
Source ID
Harvested from Geodata Harvest
Harvest Source TitleGeodata Harvest
Harvest Source URIhttps://geodata.nal.usda.gov/geonetwork/srv/eng/csw
Last Harvest PerformedThu, 04/22/2021 - 01:01
NAL Geospatial Catalog