Structure and composition of a Watershed-Scale Sediment Information Network

W. R. Osterkamp, J. R. Gray, J. B. Laronne, J. R. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A “Watershed-Scale Sediment Information Network” (WaSSIN), designed to complement UNESCO’s International Sedimentation Initiative, was endorsed as an initial project by the recently formed World Association for Sedimentation and Erosion Research. WaSSIN is to address global fluvial-sediment information needs through a network approach based on consistent protocols for the collection, analysis, and storage of fluvial sediment and ancillary information at smaller spatial scales than those of the International Sedimentation Initiative. As a second step of implementation, we propose herein that the WaSSIN have a general structure of two components, (1) monitoring and data acquisition and (2) research. Monitoring is to be conducted in small watersheds that have an established database for discharge of water and suspended sediment, and possibly for bed load, bed material, and bed topography. Ideally, documented protocols have been used for collecting, analyzing, storing, and sharing the derivative data. The research component is to continue the collection and interpretation of data, to compare those data among candidate watersheds, and to determine gradients of fluxes and processes among the selected watersheds.
To define gradients and evaluate processes, the initial watersheds will have several common attributes. Watersheds of the first group will be: (1) six to ten in number, (2) less than 1000 km2 in area, (3) generally in mid-latitudes of continents, and (4) of semiarid climate. Potential candidate watersheds presently include the Weany Creek Basin, northeastern Australia, the Zhi Fanggou catchment, northern China, the Eshtemoa Watershed, southern Israel, the Metsemotlhaba River Basin, Botswana, the Aiuaba Experimental Basin, Brazil, and the Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed, southwestern United States. Watersheds also likely to be considered for inclusion in the WaSSIN are in western South America, India, and southwestern or eastern Europe. Particularly relevant would be the inclusion of watersheds in semiarid western Asia and North Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-246
JournalInternational Journal of Sediment Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • sediment information
  • monitoring system
  • International Sediment Initiative
  • WaSSIN


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