Response of a Gravel‐Bed River to Dam Closure: Insights from Sediment Transport Processes and Channel Morphodynamics

Brenna, Andrea, Surian, Nicola and Mao, Luca (2020) Response of a Gravel‐Bed River to Dam Closure: Insights from Sediment Transport Processes and Channel Morphodynamics. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms . ISSN 1096-9837

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.4750

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Response of a Gravel‐Bed River to Dam Closure: Insights from Sediment Transport Processes and Channel Morphodynamics
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Response of a Gravel‐Bed River to Dam Closure: Insights from Sediment Transport Processes and Channel Morphodynamics
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Item Type:Article
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Abstract

This work deals with the impacts of dams on large gravel‐bed rivers in terms of altering coarse transport regimes and the relationship with river morphodynamics. Using data collected by a tracer‐based monitoring program carried out in a 4‐km‐long study sector of the Parma River (Italy) located downstream from a relatively recently established dam, we applied a virtual velocity approach to estimate the coarse bed material load at four river cross‐sections. Monitoring and calculation results provided new insights into the impacts of the dam on streambed material mobility and the sediment regime over the 17‐month calculation period. A longitudinal gradient of effects was observed along the study sector. Sections located closer to the dam are characterized by more evident impacts due to deficits in coarse sediment input from upstream. Sediment mobility here is strongly altered, especially in the highly armored main channel, and the overall bed material load is extremely low. A partial recovery of sediment dynamics was observed at the sections located further from the dam, where estimates indicate higher sediment yield. The observed longitudinal trend in the coarse sediment transport regime matches the morphology, as the river shifts downstream from a sinuous configuration with alternate bars to a wandering one. The novel insights into alteration of coarse sediment dynamics and the relationship with river morphodynamics are potentially applicable to many other fluvial contexts affected by similar impoundments.

Keywords:coarse bed material transport, dam, virtual velocity, tracers, river morphodynamics, armoring, Parma River
Subjects:F Physical Sciences > F820 Geomorphology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Geography
ID Code:38984
Deposited On:10 Dec 2019 11:26

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