Past and Present Land Uses

Vegetation within the Nemadji River Basin has dramatically altered from its natural state due to a history of logging, fires, and a conversion to agriculture. The loss of native coniferous species took place during the logging era of the late 1800’s. Subsequent fires in 1894 and 1918 were followed by conversion of land use to agriculture in the early 1900s. Today the watershed is composed of a mix of land use, with a small percentage of coniferous forests remaining. Deer Creek land cover is approximately 18% coniferous, 50% deciduous, and 32% non-forested with a small percentage of that being open water/wetland (Wold, Queen, and Brooks 1994). Previous study of the Nemadji River and tributaries including Deer Creek concluded that the loss of water storage and moderation once provided by the large coniferous populatin has resulted in higher water yields.

Connecting the Stream to the Land

The shape and formation of a stream is the result of deposition and erosion that occurs during high flow events where the stream is just about to flood out of the banks (at bankfull). During these higher flows, the stream has enough energy to carry and deposit sediment for channel shaping and formation. A storm event that produces enough rain to cause the stream to reach this point happens approximately every 1.5 years. Yet, when a landscape is dramatically altered, the high flows can happen more frequently, altering the natural erosion and depositional process.

Pre-settlement vegetation

nemadji presettlment veg

Current vegetation

current land cover