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Sediment Transport &

Geomorphology
Objectives
Learn basic concepts of sediment transport
and fluvial geomorphology
Understand sediment budgets (sources,
sinks, pathways for sediment)
Discuss infrastructure and ecosystem
response

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Sediment Transport and
Geomorphology in Planning Steps
Characterize Physical Attributes of
Existing conditions
Reference conditions
Future w/o project conditions
Alternatives

70% of ecosystem restoration efforts


are linked to sediment and
geomorphology 2
Sediment Transport &
Geomorphology
Sediment Transport
mechanics of sediment erosion, transport, and
deposition by water
Geomorphology
geologic science of landscape formation

H&H is the big driver affecting sediment


transport and geomorphology

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Too Much/Too Little Sediment
Problems with too much sediment
Raised flood profiles
Reduced underwater light
Decreased capacity of hydraulic structures
Problems with too little sediment
Incision (channel lowering)
Delta loss
Scour at hydraulic structures

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Sediment Size
Clay < 0.004 mm
Silt 0.004 - 0.0625 mm
Sand 0.0625 - 2 mm
Gravel > 2mm

The larger the sediment particle, the less readily it is picked up


by flow at a given speed, and if picked up, the shorter the
distance it is likely to travel before re-settling
Clay and silt are considered fine sediments
Sand and gravel are considered coarse sediment
Note: Protocols for cobble bed mountain streams may differ,
where fines may be considered anything less than 5.6 mm.

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Descriptions of Sediment Load
Ability to Measure Mode of Transport
Location in River

Measured Load-Sediment that


can be measured with a sampler Suspended Load-Sediment that
can be found at any depth. Includes
fine and coarse sediment Wash Load sediment that
passes over bed without deposition.
exchanges with banks/floodplain

Un-Measured Load-Sediment in the Bed Load-Sediment that


lowest portion of the water column Bed Material Load sediment that
creeps or hops along bed
that cannot be measured with most exchanges with and is found in
(coarse material)
samplers measureable quantities in bed

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Suspended Load Curves
(based on measured SS)

Suspended
sediment
can be measured
using
samplers

A plot of
suspended
sediment load
versus
water discharge.
Note
order of magnitude
variation.

Suspended Sediment Load (tons/day) = Sediment Concentration (mg/L) * Water Discharge (cfs) * .0027
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X
Bed Load Vs
Y M A B

G

H

F E D C K X

Sketch & Bathymetry from Dvd Abraham


Bed load moves in waves at a certain and Thad Pratt, ERDC

speed (or celerity). The celerity (c) is given


by dividing the distance x by time t.

Problem is that measuring c is difficult and


expensive, and calculating it is uncertain even
with good models and data.

Often we just assume that bed load is 5% to


15% of the total sediment load. 8
Calculating Sediment
Transport
There are dozens of sediment transport functions that
predict sediment transport based on:
sediment size, weight, and fall velocity
water velocity and depth
channel width
channel slope and roughness
water temperature
Many assumptions are made
Choose functions appropriate for your conditions

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Lanes Balance says that sediment discharge and sediment
grain size tend to balance against water discharge and slope

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Sources, Sinks, Pathways
Rio Puerco, NM
Source
Sources
Bed Sink
Banks (Bluffs)
Ravines & Gullys
Watershed

Watershed Sources depend on:


geology and topography of the watershed
magnitude, intensity, duration, and distribution of rainfall
vegetative cover; and the extent of cultivation and grazing.

Regression methods are used to develop soil loss relationships


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Sources, Sinks, Pathways
Sinks
Floodplains
Valley side slopes
Deltas
Off - channel areas
USACE Dredges

Most rivers cannot transport all of the sediment that is eroded


within its channels and watersheds, so every river system has
sinks for sediment.

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Sources, Sinks, Pathways
The capacity of a stream to transport sediment depends on
hydraulic properties of the stream channel and sediment properties

Sediment Transport = F (hydraulic properties & sediment properties)

slope
velocity grain size distribution
channel geometry cohesiveness
roughness

sink

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Sediment Budgets, Watershed Scale
Whitewater River Sediment Budget,
NRCS, 1965 to 1994
Sources of sediment estimated by AGNPs model
Sinks determined by historic survey comparison

Sources (1000s tons/year)


Sheet & Rill Ephemeral & Classic Streambank
Erosion Gully Erosion Erosion
555 72 86

Headwaters
Sediment Load
To Mississippi River
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Colluvium Sandbars & Tributary Main Whitewater Delta


553 Streambank Valley Valley Deposits
Deposits Deposits Deposits 20
17 36 63

Sinks (1000s tons/year)

Only 24,000 tons/year of the total 713,000 tons/year from


sheet and rill erosion, ephemeral & classic gully erosion, and
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streambank erosion is transported to the mouth of the river.
Sediment Effects on Water
Quality
The majority of
sediment transport in a US Army Cor ps

given year occurs of Engineers


St. Pau l District

during seasonal high


water events
Sediment transport
during other times can
have a significant effect
on underwater light,
nutrient loads,
substrate.

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Suspended Sediment Concentration (SSC)
is Different than Total Suspended Solids
(TSS)
SSC sampling: Iso-kinetic sampling where the velocity and concentration in the
sampler intake is equal to the velocity and concentration in the surrounding water is required to
ensure sediment samples that represent the true sediment load.
See USGS protocols by Edwards and Glyssen (1999)
and Davis (2005)

TSS sampling (e.g. automatic water samplers (or pump samples)


Often are not iso-kinetic, however this is not a problem for fine
sediments.

The SSC analytical method uses the entire water-sediment


mixture in the analysis. (ASTM D-3977)

A TSS analysis entails withdrawal of an aliquot (or part) of the original sample for subsequent
analysis. (SM 2540-D). It is OK to use if the sediments are fine sediments, but dont use if coarse
sediments are in the sample.

For more information see http://water.usgs.gov/osw/techniques/sediment.html 16


Data from USGS 17
Geomorphology
Geologic science of
landscape formation

Fluvial Geomorphology
landscape formation
by streams

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Watershed and Channel Alteration
will change H&H Causing
Geomorphic Responses Including:

Channel incision
Channel plugging
Land loss along channels
Gullying
Floodplain deposition

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Geomorphic Responses may
Affect:
Infrastructure: Bridges, FRM
Human uses: Drinking water, recreation,
agriculture
Aquatic Habitat
Commercial Navigation
Water Quality: Underwater light,
nutrients, contaminants
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Thalweg Data for WRR
1170

1120

Elevation in Feet above M.S.L. (NVGD 1988)


Spatial Scales
1070

1020

River Miles Elevation

Changes in:
970 Decrease
per mile
0 to 30 1.4'
30 to 40 2.5'
40 to 50 4.6'
920
50 to 60 7.0'
60 to 80 5.9'

Channel geometry
80 to 90 3.4'

870

2003/2006

Slope
820
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Project Reach River Mile Ecosystem Restoration

Ye arly Se dime nt Yie ld Analysis for WRR

Roughness 500,000 HEC-RAS Sed. Cap.

Gauge
450,000
South Branch WRR

Cause changes in 400,000 Marsh Creek

"WRR Project Reach"


350,000
" SB Project Reach"

Sediment transport

Sediment Yield (Tons)


300,000

250,000

Geomorphic processes
200,000

150,000

Channel Capacity
100,000

50,000

0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Rive r M ile

d-50 Grain Size Data for WRR Main Branch


80

60

50% passing Grain Size (mm)


40

20

0
0 20 40 60
River Mile 21
80 100 120
Time-Scales
Annual geomorphic changes like sand bar
migration, bank erosion, point bar building
occur due to seasonal high flows
Long-Term geomorphic change like incision
or delta building or loss might be natural or
anthropogenic.
Climate variation, watershed development,
channelization, dams, urbanization affect
geomorphic change at both scales.
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Use Multiple Tools for Sediment
Transport and Geomorphological Analysis
Field Investigations
Existing conditions substrate, bankfull conditions, vegetation,
discussion with local experts
Surveys:
Cross sections, profiles, sediment cores
Analytical Techniques
Numerical Models:
Watershed models
River models
Aerial photo comparisons
Change from Historic conditions
Sediment Budgets
Specific Stage Discharge Analysis

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Erosion of a
River Bend

Source Sink

Geotechnical Failure From Bend


Migration And Toe Erosion

Low Flow Cross Section


High Flow Cross Section 24
Flood of Record Washed Out
Railroad, Undermined Houses

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River Meandering and
Effects of 0.2 % Chance
Flood

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Geomorphic Response to
Watershed Development
Floodplain Deposition, Channel Incision

WHITEWATER RIVER MAIN STEM UPSTREAM


OF BEAVER, Data from NRCS
735.0

730.0
ELEVATION

725.0

720.0

715.0

710.0
0

100

200

300

400

500

600

700

800

900

1000

1100

1200

1300

1400

1500

1600

1700

1800

1900
-100

STATION
1939 1994

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Highway 61 Bridge
Canadian Pacific RR Bridge

Whitewater River Avulsion


August 2007

New Mouth of
Whitewater River

Whitewater River shortened


By about 6,000
Old Mouth of
Whitewater River

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Culvert Outlet Failure

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Channelization

Sediment Deposition,
Loss of Capacity

Agricultural Levee Break

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Geomorphic Response to Raised Water Levels
In Lower Pool 8

Island Loss And Erosion


Increased Connectivity
Sediment Deposition
1938 1954 1991

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Bridges
Usually footings are deep enough to
handle a certain amount of scour.
Changed hydrological conditions
(climate variation, land use change) or
changed hydraulic conditions (dam
removal, debris) can create greater
scour levels

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Lafayette Bridge: 1969 Rising Flood

695
690
685
680 Pier 9
Elevation (ft)

675
670
27700
665
660
655
650
645
5350 5400 5450 5500 5550 5600 5650 5700
Station (ft)
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Lafayette Bridge: 1969 Rising Flood

695
690
685
680 Pier 9
Elevation (ft)

675
27700
670
665 71800

660
655
650
645
5350 5400 5450 5500 5550 5600 5650 5700
Station (ft)
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Lafayette Bridge: 1969 Rising Flood
Summary of Rising Flood
695

690

685
Pier 9
680
Elevation (ft)

675 27700

670 71800

665 157000

660

655

650

645
5350 5400 5450 5500 5550 5600 5650 5700
Station (ft)
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Lafayette Bridge: 1969 Falling Flood

695

690

685

680
Pier 9
Elevation (ft)

675

670
157000
665

660

655

650

645
5350 5400 5450 5500 5550 5600 5650 5700
Station (ft)
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Lafayette Bridge: 1969 Falling Flood

695

690

685

680 Pier 9
Elevation (ft)

675
157000
670

665 105000

660

655

650

645
5350 5400 5450 5500 5550 5600 5650 5700
Station (ft)
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Lafayette Bridge: 1969 Falling Flood
Summary of Falling Flood
695

690

685
Pier 9
680
Elevation (ft)

675 157000

670 105000

665 18800

660

655

650

645
5350 5400 5450 5500 5550 5600 5650 5700
Station (ft)
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Bridge 87015
TH 212 over Minnesota
River Overflow Abutment
Fill and Approach Panel
Lost

Q500 = 7,300 cfs


Q1997 = 10,000 cfs
Excerpts from Inspectors Notes:
4/4 108 below NW, channel has
shifted to east
4/5 69 from SE wingwall, deck
vibrating, riprap eroded, looking
down through water.
4/6 2:00 PM Panel undermined,
water flowing under it.
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4/6 5:00 PM Panel fell in.
Bridge
54002
Bridge is still
structurally stable, but
from the travelers
perspective it failed.

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Long Lake Water Control
Structure after 2001 Flood

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~ The End ~

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