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Earth Hydrology


Hydrology of the Bryant Watershed

Hydrology is all about water. This section includes information about Bryant Creek and the springs that feed it. It tells about the rainwater that flows and trickles into creeks and filters through the earth to become groundwater. Groundwater flows underground from one place to another to feed the creeks and our wells.


Rockbridge Spring

Bryant Creek is a narrow, swift-flowing stream fed by several large springs. Many small springs flow into the Bryant and its tributaries. Limestone bluffs tower along the stream in places.

The dictionary defines hydrology as "a science dealing with the properties, distribution and circulation of water on and below the earth's surface and in the atmosphere." Studying hydrology gives us information to help us explore and understand the waters of the Bryant, from its water quality and stream flow to its fish habitats and plant life. The Bryant is similar to most Ozark streams with its series of short pools separated by shallow riffles. Pools are deep and slow moving. Fish use them for cover and nesting. Riffles are faster and are used by fish for feeding and spawning. 

What are the parts that make up a stream?

The parts of a stream include the watershed, the floodplain and the stream corridor, as well as the stream channel itself. The watershed is the land that drains into the stream. The floodplain is the relatively flat area along the stream. The floodplain carries the flood waters that the channel can't handle after heavy rains. The stream corridor is the area immediately along the stream that is typically forested. The Department of Conservation recommends that the wooded border should be about one hundred feet wide, at least. This benefits the stream and landowners along it by controlling streambank erosion, filtering sediment and enhancing fish and wildlife habitat. 


In This Section

A Stream Table Makes a Miniature Stream



Related Story

Topography Overview Stream gradients: How the Bryant drops from its beginning at Cedar Gap down to where it joins the North Fork.

Link: Daily Streamflow
Real-time streamflow data for area streams.
Bryant Creek
North Fork

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  Written by Hank Dorst and Peter Callaway.
Sources: Surface Water Resources of Missouri, Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Environmental and Hydrologic Setting of the Ozark Plateaus Study Unit, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma,USGS 1995. Missouri Waterways,Missouri Department of Natural Resources, 1997. Structural Controls on Streamflow in the North Fork River and Bryant Creek Basins, Missouri, USGS Professional Paper 600-C. 1968. Understanding Streams, Missouri Department of Conservation.