A model to predict the evolution of a gravel bed river under an imposed cyclic hydrograph and its application to the Trinity River

Enrica Viparelli, David Gaeuman, Peter Wilcock, Gary Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Major changes in the morphology of the Trinity River in California, such as narrowing of the cross section and sedimentation of fine sediment in pools, occurred after the closure of a system of dams. These changes caused a dramatic reduction in the salmonid population and a resulting decline of the fishery. Gravel augmentation, regulated flood releases, and mechanical channel rehabilitation are currently being implemented to help restore the aquatic habitat of the river. The present paper describes a tool, named the Spawning Gravel Refresher, for designing and predicting the effects of gravel augmentation in gravel bed rivers. The tool assumes an imposed, cycled hydrograph. The model is calibrated and applied to the regulated reach of the Trinity River in four steps: (1) zeroing runs to reproduce conditions of mobile bed equilibrium as best can be estimated for the predam Trinity River, (2) runs to compare the predictions with the results of previous studies, (3) runs at an engineering time scale to reproduce the effects of the dams, and (4) runs to design gravel augmentation schemes. In the fourth group of runs, the combined effects of engineered flood flow releases and gravel augmentation are predicted. At an engineering time scale, the model indicates that the fraction of fine sediment in the surface layer and in the topmost part of the substrate should decrease when subjected to these two restoration measures, with a consequent improvement of the quality of the spawning gravel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberW02533
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume47
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology

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