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Abstract

River reaches downstream dams where a constant residual flow discharge is imposed, often lack sediment supply and periodic inundation due to the absence of natural flood events. In this study, a two-year return flood was released from an upstream reservoir and combined with sediment replenishment to enhance instream habitat conditions downstream of Rossens hydropower dam on the Sarine River in western Switzerland. Sediment replenishment consisted of four sediment deposits distributed as alternate bars along the river banks, a solution which was previously tested in laboratory. The morphological evolution of the replenishment and of the downstream riverbed were surveyed including pre- and post-flood topography. A hydro-morphological index to evaluate the quality of riverine habitats, based on the variability of flow depth and flow velocity in the analyzed reach, was investigated. The combination of the artificial flood with sediment replenishment proved to be a robust measure to supply a river with sediment and to enhance hydraulic habitat suitability.

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