Modeling the effects of variable annual flow on river channel meander migration patterns, Sacramento River, California, USA

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TitleModeling the effects of variable annual flow on river channel meander migration patterns, Sacramento River, California, USA
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsLarsen EW, Fremier AK, Girvetz EH
JournalJournal of the American Water Resources Association
Volume42
Pagination1063-1075
Date PublishedAug
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1093-474X
Accession NumberISI:000240644500018
Keywordsbank erosion, ECOSYSTEMS, EQUATION, ESTABLISHMENT, FLOODPLAIN, fluvial processes, GEOMORPHIC PROCESSES, geomorphology, GIS, meander migration, RECRUITMENT, REGIMES, riparian ecology, RIPARIAN VEGETATION, SURVIVAL, water management
Abstract

Flow regulation impacts the ecology of major rivers in various ways, including altering river channel migration patterns. Many current meander migration models employ a constant annual flow or dominant discharge value. To assess how flow regulation alters river function, variable annual flows based on an empirical relationship between bank erosion rates and cumulative effective stream power - were added into an existing migration model. This enhanced model was used to evaluate the potential geomorphic and ecological consequences of four regulated flow scenarios (i.e., different hydrographs) currently being proposed on the Sacramento River in California. The observed rate of land reworked correlated significantly with observed cumulative effective stream power during seven time increments from 1956 to 1975 (r(2) = 0.74, p = 0.02). The river was observed to rework 3.0 ha/yr of land (a mean channel migration rate of 7.7 m/yr) with rates ranging from 0.8 ha/yr to 5.1 ha/yr (2.0 to 13.3 m/yr), during the analyzed time periods. Modeled rates of land reworked correlated significantly with observed rates of land reworked for the variable flow model (r2 = 0.78, p = 0.009). The meander migration scenario modeling predicted a difference of 1 to 8 percent between the four flow management scenarios and the base scenario.

Short TitleJ. Am. Water Resour. Assoc.J. Am. Water Resour. Assoc.
Alternate JournalJ. Am. Water Resour. Assoc.

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Original

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Additional

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