Date of Thesis

Spring 2023


The transient storage zone processes are investigated in a small second order stream with a 2.2 square kilometer watershed. The presence of transient storage zones in small streams impacts the available flow paths for water and results in a wider range of residence times for water and dissolved chemicals than would be predicted by considering only the main channel flow path. Residence times can be used to quantify the health of a stream as several biogeochemical and ecological processes occur in water slowed by transient storage.

Sections of the studied stream are impacted by varying types of stream restoration practices and watershed management practices. These practices lead to the presence of a wide range of transient storage zone types. A combination of data collection, field experimentation, and data analysis is used to characterize the variability in transient storage zone processes and residence times in the small stream and to relate the identified storage zone processes to physical characteristics of the stream.

Field experimentation took place along measured sections and included geophysical investigations of the subsurface and continuous-injection tracer studies using a conservative tracer with sampling from the main channel flow and from identified transient storage zones following the continuous injection of tracer. Data analysis leads to a preliminary understanding of how various stream and watershed management practices can impact the presence of transient storage zones and the range of residence times and flow paths in small streams.


transient storage zones, Miller Run, residence times, continuous injection tracer, hyporheic zone, OTIS

Access Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Type

Master of Science in Civil Engineering


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Jessica Newlin

Second Advisor

Richard Crago

Third Advisor

Matthew Higgins