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Accession Number PB2013-103130
Title Vegetation, Substrate, and Eolian Sediment Transport at Teesto Wash, Navajo Nation, 2009-2012.
Publication Date 2012
Media Count 78p
Personal Author A. E. Draut L. Amoroso M. H. Redsteer
Abstract On the Navajo Nation, southwestern United States, warming temperatures and recent drought have increased eolian (windblown) sediment mobility such that large, migrating sand dunes affect grazing lands, housing, and road access. We present an assessment of seasonal variations in sand transport, mobility, and ground cover (vegetation and substrate) within a 0.2-km2 study area near Teesto Wash, southern Navajo Nation, as part of a multiyear study measuring the effects of drought on landscape stability. Sand mobility in the study area decreased substantially as one year (2010) with near-normal monsoon rainfall somewhat abated a decade-long drought, temporarily doubling vegetation cover. The invasive annual plant Russian thistle (Salsola sp.), in particular, thrived after the monsoon rains of 2010. Vegetation that grew during that year with adequate rain died off rapidly during drier conditions in 2011 and 2012, and the proportion of bare, open sand area increased steadily after summer 2010. We infer that isolated seasonal increases in rainfall will not improve landscape stability in the long term because sustained increase in perennial plants, which are more effective than annual plants at stabilizing sand against wind erosion, requires multiple consecutive seasons of adequate rain. On the basis of climate projections, a warmer, drier climate and potentially enhanced sediment supply from ephemeral washes may further increase eolian sediment transport and dune activity, worsening the present challenges to people living in this region. Connections between climate, vegetation cover, and eolian sediment erodibility in this region also are highly relevant for studies in other regions worldwide with similar environmental characteristics.
Keywords Bed sediments
Climate change
Eolian sediment
Navajo nation
Sediment transport
Teesto Wash
Tribal reservations

Source Agency US Geological Survey
NTIS Subject Category 48G - Hydrology & Limnology
50B - Civil Engineering
57H - Ecology
48F - Geology & Geophysics
Corporate Author Geological Survey, Reston, VA.
Document Type Technical report
Title Note Scientific investigations rept.
NTIS Issue Number 1308
Contract Number N/A

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