Understanding the effect of catastrophic disturbances on natural communities is necessary and vital to planning and executing development and to reclamation and restoration projects. Two nearby sites one catastrophically disturbed by flooding and one undisturbed area were compared. Field vegetation analysis three years after the flood in the disturbed area showed changes in the community structure along the stream, no overstory and a majority of obligate emergent wetland vegetation. In the undisturbed site, community structure along the stream is uniform; the overstory is well-developed, and herbaceous plants are predominantly facultative wetland but with few emergents. The field water quality analysis of temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen and specific conductivity are compared in the areas. GIS (Geographic Information System) analysis used the USGS 1:24,000 maps of the area and SCS county soil survey maps to analyze erosion risk, soil types, topography and vegetation potential in the 200 km2 Miller Springs Natural Area and the immediately surrounding 5 10 km2 watershed.
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