Date of Award
Master of Science
Geography and Environmental Resources
Cypress Creek is an under researched sub-watershed of the larger Cache River system located in Southern Illinois and is managed by the Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge (CCNWR). In 1996, the Cypress Creek Watershed and its encompassing wetlands were listed under the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Ramsar as a “Wetland of International Importance”. These wetland habitats house unique aquatic woody species, such as the Bald Cypress and Water Tupelo, and have diminished in size due to agricultural priorities and changes in hydrology (Demissie et al. 1990; Illinois Department of Natural Resources 1997). Heitmeyer and Mangan (2012) conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), assessed the Cypress Creek Watershed using historical references of pre-settlement topography and geomorphology and present-day soils to determine habitat potential. These variables alone do not address the needs of the aquatic woody species who require flood inundation to survive. This hydrologic and hydraulic assessment examines the present-day hydrologic conditions within the boundary limits of CCNWR by collecting channel geometry and stream discharges, building flow frequencies, and constructing a hydraulic model of Cypress Creek to simulate water surface elevations (WSELs) for the bankfull, 2-year, 5-year, 10-year, 20-year, and 25-year exceedance probabilities. Flood inundations were generated from simulated WSELs and local topography. The calculated potential habitat for Bald Cypress and Water Tupelo is 289 hectares and is located in the northwest part of the study area, south of Cypress Creek Road and above Hickory Bottoms Bridge on CCNWR land. Potential habitat overlap found between Heitmeyer and Mangan (2012) and this assessment is roughly 19 hectares.
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