Sediment and Erosion Projects

student Jason Manley using a transit to measure creek profiles

Long-Term Erosion Monitoring in the Copeland Creek Headwaters


Due to the erosive geology in the headwaters of Copeland Creek, the tiny watershed (only 5.1 square miles) produces an astonishing amount of sediment. How much sediment is coming from the headwaters and where does it come from?

  • Faculty: Michelle Goman (Geography), Jeff Baldwin (Geography)
  • Partners: SCWA, SSU Preserves

Sedimentary Analysis of the Sag Pond at Fairfield Osborn Preserve

Spring 2014

Stratigraphy of a sag pond at the Fairfield Osborn Preserve provides information about landslide occurrences, environmental changes, and fire history in the upper Copeland Creek watershed.

  • Faculty: Michelle Goman (Geography)
  • Partners: SSU Preserves

student using a tree core to sample oak trees at the Fairfield Osborn Preserve

Dendrochronology, Landslides and Climate Change in the Copeland Creek Headwaters

Spring 2014

Tree ring analyses at the Fairfield Osborn Preserve provide information about forest stand age and the frequency of landslides and fire.

  • Faculty: Michelle Goman (Geography)
  • Partners: SCWA, SSU Preserves, Steve Norwick Memorial Fund

Mitigating Trail Erosion at SSU'S Fairfield Osborn Preserve

Spring 2014

Erosion of soil from trails can reduce water quality, increase soil compaction from hikers walking on trail shoulders, and the transmit Sudden Oak Death pathogen Phytophthora ramorum. We conducted a survey to identify sections of trail at the Fairfield Osborn Preserve with excessive erosion and used best management practices to treat a 256 ft section of trail.

  • Staff: Suzanne DeCoursey (SSU Preserves)
  • Partners: SSU Preserves
Copeland creek on its alluvial fan

Sediment Loads From Copeland Creek Alluvial Fan


How much of the sediment in Copeland Creek originates from the alluvial fan area? What methods can we develop to measure the amount and kind of sediment from the upper watershed and alluvial fan areas?

  • Faculty: Jeff Baldwin (Geography)
  • Partners: SCWA
map of landslides in the copeland creek watershed

Sedimentation Rates in the Upper Watershed, Fairfield Osborn Preserve Marsh

Fall 2012

A marsh at the Fairfield Osborn Preserve has been gradually filling with sediment. Students quantified rates of sedimentation and successional infilling by dating cores taken from the marsh.

  • Faculty: Michelle Goman (Geography)
  • Partners: SCWA

Rhonert Park during 2005 Flood

Documentary Evidence for Extreme Flood Events in the Russian River Watershed

Fall 2012 - present

Geography students investigate documentary evidence for flood impacts on the Russian River mainstem over the last 100 years. Working in groups, they translate documentary evidence into maps showing levels impact. 

  • Faculty: Michelle Goman (Geography)
  • Partners: SCWA