Geomorphic analogies for assessing probable channel response to dam removal
There is a pressing need for tools to predict the rates, magnitudes, and mechanisms by which sediment is removed from a reservoir following dam removal, as well as for tools to predict where this sediment will be deposited downstream and how it will impact downstream channel morphology. In the absence of adequate empirical data, a good initial approach is to examine the impacts of dam removal within the context of the geomorphic analogies of channel evolution models and sediment waves. Channel changes at two dam breaching sites in Wisconsin involved a succession of channel forms and processes consistent with an existing channel evolution model. Sediment transported downstream after removal of other dams suggests that reservoir sediment may be translated downstream either as a distinct wave or gradually eroded away. More extensive data collection on existing dam removals is warranted before undertaking the removal of a large number of dams. However, if removal is to proceed based on current knowledge, then geomorphic analogies can be used as the foundation for sediment management and stabilization schemes.
Doyle, MW; Stanley, EH; Harbor, JM
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