and Losing Streams
Assessing Karst Watercourses
Streams and watercourses are assessed during karst field assessments
to determine if they sink or lose water to the subsurface. The
assessment process also evaluates the significance
of any recipient karst features receiving the water.
What problems do transported sediments create in recipient karst
Sediment, organic material and woody debris can be transported
downstream where it can accumulate and clog karst features. This
can restrict water from entering the subsurface and/or redirect
flows to other subsurface openings or to the surface. Another concern
is the introduction of fine sediment and organic material into
subsurface cavities and caves.
These materials can coat underground surfaces, thereby impacting
subsurface habitats and other cave
resources or values. The slow decay rate associated with underground
environments allows these materials to accumulate and persist over
long periods of time.