Hydraulic-morphological habitat assessment in rivers considering residual flow, sediment replenishment and artificial flood events

Dams store water and trap sediment in their reservoirs. Downstream river segments, hence, are affected by a limited sediment dynamics. This becomes obvious by river bed incision, limited geomorphological variability and depletion of hydraulic habitats for in-stream ecological organisms. Replenishment is a measure to counteract the lack of sediment. In segments dams such a sediment replenishment can be combined with the release of an artificial flood, by activating spillways and bottom outlets. Recent laboratory studies revealed the potential of multi-deposit replenishment configuration towards an increase of geomorphological richness in the river. However, this has not yet been tested in the field. The hydro-morphological index of diversity (HMID), is based on the spatial variability flow depth and velocity in a river segment, allowing the quantification of the change in morphology such a measure. Its ease in computation and its objectivity makes the index a useful tool for a large variety of users. However, knowledge concerning data sufficiency and a standardized sampling procedure does not exist. Further, the HMID does not account for temporal variability. This research aims at closing these gaps of knowledge for a sustainable management of complex floodplains downstream of dams. Flow depth and velocity data from 19 river segments were analyzed with the HMID. Structured sub-sampling and analysis of the data revealed different data sufficiency depending on the complexity of the river geomorphology. A representative HMID value is computed from at least 100 datapoints distributed over eight cross-sections, in braided rivers more datapoints are required. The geomorphological changes by an artificial flood event in the Sarine were analyzed with the HMID. In the impact perimeter of the multi-deposit sediment replenishment, the HMID increased by 36 % in the Sarine, in the rest of the river 18 %. A similar study was investigated at the Spöl, pointing out that sediment availability is crucial for the hydraulic habitat diversity. With the help of 489 tracer stones, the movement of the replenished sediment was investigated in detail. The deposition pattern results in repeating sediment clusters on the riverbed, as it was observed in the laboratory experiments. For the two characteristic diameters, the tracers allowed the estimation of transport velocities of 19 cm/min (dm = 57 mm) and 28 cm/min (d90 = 113 mm) during the flood event and consequently the erosion efficiency of the different parts of the flood hydrograph. Macroinvertebrates were less affected by the artificial flood event in the hydropeaking river segment of the Sarine compared with the residual flow segment. The species diversity indices decreased significantly due to the artificial flood event. A direct link between flow regime and EPT richness was observed. A river with a natural flow regime hosts the highest richness of macroinvertebrates followed the residual and finally the hydropeaking flow regime. For other ecological indicators, additional physical river parameters for example the frequency duration curve or the grain size distribution need to be considered as well.


Advisor(s):
Wüest, Alfred Johny
Schleiss, Anton
Year:
2019
Publisher:
Lausanne, EPFL
Keywords:
Note:
TH1902
Laboratories:




 Record created 2019-05-24, last modified 2019-10-04

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