Title: Experimental sediment transport research at the USDA National Sedimentation Laboratory Authors
Submitted to: National Sedimentaton Laboratory (NSL)- 50 Years of Soil & Water Research in a Changing Agricultural Environment
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: August 15, 2008
Publication Date: September 28, 2008
Citation: Kuhnle, R.A., Wren, D.G., Alonso, C.V. 2008. Experimental sediment transport research at the USDA National Sedimentation Laboratory. National Sedimentaton Laboratory (NSL)- 50 Years of Soil & Water Research in a Changing Agricultural Environment. p. 45-65. Interpretive Summary: Accurate determinations of the rate of sediment being moved by the flowing water of stream channels are necessary because the sediment may fill reservoirs and reduce their capacity, may fill channels and cause flooding, may degrade water quality, and may cause instability of the channel banks which can cause the destruction of valuable agricultural and other lands. Accurate knowledge of sediment movement is also needed to evaluate the effectiveness of agricultural conservation practices. This study summarizes the studies and implications of experimental sediment transport research conducted at the National Sedimentation Laboratory since its beginning in 1958. Studies conducted in laboratory channels under controlled conditions allow accurate measurements of sediment movement rates and the causative flows that are not possible in field channels where changing flow and sediment conditions make measurements difficult and uncertain. The information from these studies has led to improved methods of sediment movement and erosion on the streams and rivers of agricultural and other watersheds. These studies have led to advances which allow agricultural and other watersheds to be managed in a more informed and environmentally sensitive manner.
Technical Abstract: Research on sediment transport under controlled conditions in laboratory flume channels has been an important part of the program of the National Sedimentation Laboratory (NSL) since its beginning in 1958. Studies over the years have included topics such as the initiation of motion of sediment, suspended sediment transport, bed load transport, bed forms, local scour and the prediction of sediment loads in streams. Sediment transport research continues at the NSL since the need for understanding and accurately predicting sediment movement is as yet unfulfilled. In addition the NSL is charged with assessing the effectivenss of conservation practices and improving the quality of runoff from agricultural and other watersheds.