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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DISTURBANCE ASSESSMENT AND MITIGATION OF GREAT BASIN RANGELAND

Location: Northwest Watershed Management Research

Title: Quantifying the coevolution of bedload transport rates and bed topography in mountain rivers: A field experiment in Reynolds Creek, ID

Authors
item Olinde, Lindsay -
item Johnson, Joel -
item PIERSON, FREDERICK

Submitted to: Trans American Geophysical Union
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 16, 2010
Publication Date: December 13, 2010
Citation: Olinde, L., Johnson, J., and Pierson, F.B. 2010. Quantifying the Coevolution of Bedload Transport Rates and Bed Topography in Mountain Rivers: A Field Experiment in Reynolds Creek, ID. Presented at 2010 Fall Meeting, American Geophysical Union, San Francisco, California, 13-17 December 2010, Abstract EP31A-0728.

Interpretive Summary: Bedload transport rates in upland rivers remain difficult to predict, even to within an order of magnitude. We are conducting a field experiment by modifying the morphology of a mountain river channel and monitoring its response to better understand the evolution of bed topography and, ultimately, to improve bedload transport rate predictions. The field site is upper Reynolds Creek, a perennial gravel-cobble stream in the northern Owyhee Mountains, Idaho, within the USDA-ARS Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed. Discharge is dominated by predictable snowmelt runoff and rain-on-snow events , and is well constrained by a 40-year record of discharge and suspended sediment transport rates collected at a gauging station immediately downstream of our study reach. The Reynolds Creek experiment consists of perturbing a 100m reach by straightening, steepening, and smoothing the channel using construction equipment. Quantifying bedload transport rates and changes in bed topography and reach morphology over several years following the perturbation will provide temporal constraints on system dynamics and feedbacks between transport and bed topography. To date, we have collected field data to document reach conditions prior to the channel manipulation, including ground based LiDAR, detailed 10cm bed topography surveys, and grain size distribution analyzes. We have also installed a series of time-lapse cameras throughout this reach to relate stage-discharge conditions to channel width and channel response to precipitation. We will quantify bed roughness changes throughout the experiment over varied length scales with ground-based high resolution LiDAR and detailed survey data. Deployed Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tagged particles and receiving antennas established along several cross sections will record changes in bedload transport rates. We hypothesize that subsequent runoff events will rework the smoothed bed topography into a rougher topography due to the development of pool-riffle sequences with similar dimensions and spacing to those that existed before the perturbation. Similarly, we hypothesize that bedload transport rates will initially increase over the smoother bed, then decrease as bed roughness increases.

Technical Abstract: Bedload transport rates in upland rivers remain difficult to predict, even to within an order of magnitude. We are conducting a field experiment by modifying the morphology of a mountain river channel and monitoring its response to better understand the evolution of bed topography and, ultimately, to improve bedload transport rate predictions. The field site is upper Reynolds Creek, a perennial gravel-cobble stream in the northern Owyhee Mountains, Idaho, within the USDA-ARS Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed. Discharge is dominated by predictable snowmelt runoff and rain-on-snow events , and is well constrained by a 40-year record of discharge and suspended sediment transport rates collected at a gauging station immediately downstream of our study reach. The Reynolds Creek experiment consists of perturbing a 100m reach by straightening, steepening, and smoothing the channel using construction equipment. Quantifying bedload transport rates and changes in bed topography and reach morphology over several years following the perturbation will provide temporal constraints on system dynamics and feedbacks between transport and bed topography. To date, we have collected field data to document reach conditions prior to the channel manipulation, including ground based LiDAR, detailed 10cm bed topography surveys, and grain size distribution analyzes. We have also installed a series of time-lapse cameras throughout this reach to relate stage-discharge conditions to channel width and channel response to precipitation. We will quantify bed roughness changes throughout the experiment over varied length scales with ground-based high resolution LiDAR and detailed survey data. Deployed Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tagged particles and receiving antennas established along several cross sections will record changes in bedload transport rates. We hypothesize that subsequent runoff events will rework the smoothed bed topography into a rougher topography due to the development of pool-riffle sequences with similar dimensions and spacing to those that existed before the perturbation. Similarly, we hypothesize that bedload transport rates will initially increase over the smoother bed, then decrease as bed roughness increases.

Last Modified: 9/29/2014