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Roadside ditches

What are some topics for student ditch research?

There are lots of possibilities. A few are listed here:

  • How do various ditch management strategies compare with the amount of sediment carried in the runoff water?
  • How does the total length of streams in your watershed compare with the total length of ditches?
  • Where in the stream channel network (1st order, 2nd order, impermanent, etc.) do your ditches connect? How do the ditches compare with the stream in terms of size, water flow, vegetation, and habitat for aquatic organisms?
  • How would you predict that the ecology and hydrology of a stream are altered by ditch drainage? Can you think of ways to test your prediction?
  • What types of substrates did you find in the ditches you observed? Were they grassy, open dirt, or covered with concrete? What impacts would each of these produce on the quantity and quality of water transported into streams and lakes?
  • How could you measure sediment transport and use these measurements to compare impacts of different ditch management practices?
  • What types of land uses occur along your study ditches? What sorts of contaminants are likely to be carried from these land uses through ditches into streams?

How can you get started?

Back to Ditch Home