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Sediment regime constraints on river restoration; an example from the lower Missouri River

Robert B. Jacobson, Dale W. Blevins and Chance J. Bitner
Sediment regime constraints on river restoration; an example from the lower Missouri River (in Management and restoration of fluvial systems with broad historical changes and human impacts, L. Allan James (editor), Sara L. Rathburn (editor) and G. Richard Whittecar (editor))
Special Paper - Geological Society of America (2009) 451: 1-22

Abstract

Dammed rivers are subject to changes in their flow, water-quality, and sediment regimes. Each of these changes may contribute to diminished aquatic habitat quality and quantity. Of the three factors, an altered sediment regime is a particularly unyielding challenge on many dammed rivers. The magnitude of the challenge is illustrated on the Lower Missouri River, where the largest water storage system in North America has decreased the downriver suspended-sediment load to 0.2%-17% of pre-dam loads. In response to the altered sediment regime, the Lower Missouri River channel has incised as much as 3.5 m just downstream of Gavins Point Dam, although the bed has been stable to slightly aggrading at other locations farther downstream. Effects of channel engineering and commercial dredging are superimposed on the broad-scale adjustments to the altered sediment regime. The altered sediment regime and geomorphic adjustments constrain restoration and management opportunities. Incision and aggradation limit some objectives of flow-regime management: In incising river segments, ecologically desirable reconnection of the floodplain requires discharges that are beyond operational limits, whereas in aggrading river segments, small spring pulses may inundate or saturate low-lying farmlands. Lack of sediment in the incising river segment downstream of Gavins Point Dam also limits sustainable restoration of sand-bar habitat for bird species listed under the Endangered Species Act. Creation of new shallow-water habitat for native fishes involves taking sediment out of floodplain storage and reintroducing most or all of it to the river, raising concerns about increased sediment, nutrient, and contaminant loads. Calculations indicate that effects of individual restoration projects are small relative to background loads, but cumulative effects may depend on sequence and locations of projects. An understanding of current and historical sediment fluxes, and how they vary along the river, provides a quantitative basis for defining management constraints and identifying opportunities.


ISSN: 0072-1077
EISSN: 2331-219X
Coden: GSAPAZ
Serial Title: Special Paper - Geological Society of America
Serial Volume: 451
Title: Sediment regime constraints on river restoration; an example from the lower Missouri River
Title: Management and restoration of fluvial systems with broad historical changes and human impacts
Author(s): Jacobson, Robert B.Blevins, Dale W.Bitner, Chance J.
Author(s): James, L. Allaneditor
Author(s): Rathburn, Sara L.editor
Author(s): Whittecar, G. Richardeditor
Affiliation: U. S. Geological Survey, Columbia, MO, United States
Affiliation: University of South Carolina, Geography Department, Columbia, SC, United States
Pages: 1-22
Published: 2009
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
Meeting name: 2007 GSA annual meeting
Meeting location: Denver, CO, USA, United States
Meeting date: 20071028Oct. 28-31, 2007
References: 90
Accession Number: 2009-074384
Categories: Environmental geologyGeomorphology
Document Type: Serial Conference document
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 4 tables, sketch map
Secondary Affiliation: Colorado State University, USA, United StatesOld Dominion University, USA, United StatesKansas City District Corps of Engineers, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute.
Update Code: 200940
Program Name: USGSOPNon-USGS publications with USGS authors
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