Streams, Slopes, and Suburban Development

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The percent of available relief in the form of free-face slope and the percent of valley width as floodplain change systematically throughout drainage networks in response to changes in network position. The energy level and discharge of streams at the bases of slopes may be assessed by means of a cumulative stream-ordering system wherein the stream order is directly related to discharge. Investigations of several small drainage basins on the rim of the Denver Basin, Colorado, by means of field measurements, interpretation of aerial photography, and operation of a computer model provide data that indicate that the distribution of near-channel slopes responds to changes in land use, and particularly to suburban development. Increasing suburban development causes increases in the size and frequency of both free faces and floodplains.

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