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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Oxford, Mississippi » National Sedimentation Laboratory » Watershed Physical Processes Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #372053

Research Project: Managing Water and Sediment Movement in Agricultural Watersheds

Location: Watershed Physical Processes Research

Title: Evaluation of the conservational channel evolution and pollutant transport system (CONCEPTS) applied to composite streambanks in the Ozark Highlands ecoregion

item DALY, ERIN - Oklahoma State University
item STORM, DANIEL - Oklahoma State University
item FOX, GAREY - Oklahoma State University
item Langendoen, Eddy

Submitted to: ASABE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2013
Publication Date: 7/21/2013
Citation: Daly, E.R., Storm, D.E., Fox, G.A., Langendoen, E.J. 2013. Evaluation of the conservational channel evolution and pollutant transport system (CONCEPTS) applied to composite streambanks in the Ozark Highlands ecoregion. ASABE Annual International Meeting. Paper No. 131620552. 21 pp.

Interpretive Summary: Stream restoration measures are often developed without properly accounting and understanding upstream and downstream impacts. Computer models could assist in evaluating these impacts, but typically do not account for streambank erosion processes. The USDA channel evolution computer model CONCEPTS was specifically developed to evaluate bed and bank stabilization measures at reach and river scales. Scientists at the USDA, ARS, National Sedimentation Laboratory in collaboration with researchers of Oklahoma State University used CONCEPTS to evaluate stabilization measures for composite streambanks along the meandering Barren Fork river in northeastern Oklahoma. It was found that model outcome was quite sensitive to the applied forces on and the resistance-to-erosion properties of the cohesionless bank material. Hence, with proper estimates and measurements of physical data and proper calibration, CONCEPTS is a viable tool to consider when investigating the long-term effects of a stabilization project on reach and larger scales. However, significant gaps exist in estimating physical parameters for noncohesive soils and the effects that certain parameters have on streambank stability predictions.

Technical Abstract: Hydraulic models are often employed to predict the response of a stream to a proposed restoration design. The shortfall of many currently used models is that they only look at the site where stabilization will occur without considering upstream and downstream effects. The one-dimensional (1D) computer model Conservational Channel Evolution and Pollutant Transport System (CONCEPTS) addresses this shortcoming by modeling streambank stabilization on a reach scale. The capability of this model is attractive to basin managers; however, CONCEPTS is still an emerging model and has not been applied to a wide variety of composite streambanks. The objectives of this study were to perform an evaluation of the Conservational Channel Evolution and Pollutant Transport System (CONCEPTS) applied to composite streambanks in the Ozark Highlands ecoregion, and to demonstrate CONCEPTS’s ability to predict the long-term stability of streambank stabilization. CONCEPTS was used to simulate a 9.25 km reach along the Barren Fork Creek in northeastern Oklahoma. A sensitivity analysis was first performed to identify input parameters with the greatest effect on bank erosion predictions in CONCEPTS. Model results were most sensitive to (1) the correction factor that accounts for increased shear stresses in a meandering stream that cannot be simulated by 1D models and (2) the internal angle of friction of the bank soils followed by the critical shear stress, effective cohesion, erodibility coefficient and the permeability. Next, CONCEPTS was calibrated using ground-based and aerial bank retreat measurements to produce realistic predictions. Model calibration was conducted by reducing the critical shear stress of the noncohesive soils until the predicted retreat matched the observed data. Using the calibrated model, two streambank stabilization techniques were simulated at two highly unstable cross sections. Fluvial erosion was reduced by simulating the application of riprap at the bank toe, and geotechnical failure was reduced by simulating a slope stabilization technique. In general, CONCEPTS predicted a high percent reduction of cumulative fines yield, bank retreat at the bank top and toe, and cumulative change in thalweg elevation for both stabilization techniques. Due to CONCEPTS limitations, a two or three-dimensional model may be needed to perform a comprehensive analysis of streambank stability for the composite streambanks in the Ozark Highlands ecoregion. Additional research is needed on the use of the internal angle of friction as a lumped calibration parameter for cohesionless soils. However, with the proper calibration and caution, CONCEPTS is a useful tool to guide the design and prioritization of streambank stabilization projects.