KCARE Research Today

Evaluation of the geomorphological adjustment of a meandering, alluvial river

Man stands in middle of river with long pole to install scour chains in the water
K-State professor Tim Keane installs scour chains in the bed of the Cottonwood River to assess bed stability. Photo credit: Kari Bigham

This study will measure the short-term, reach-scale impacts of streambank stabilization projects on a meandering, alluvial river that outlets into a federally owned reservoir. More specifically, the research team aims to test the following hypotheses: if streambank stabilization projects utilizing rock (1) decrease sediment input from streambank erosion at the stabilized site but (2) increase sediment transport capacity along the site, resulting in localized bed scour, upstream channel degradation, and accelerated streambank erosion upstream of the project, and (3) induce aggradation and accelerated streambank erosion downstream of the stabilized streambank. 

Three people, two on the river bank and one in a boat, take measurements on the Cottonwood River.
K-State researchers Tim Keane, Trisha Moore and Max Burden survey Cottonwood streambed bathymetry with total station. Photo credit: Kari Bigham

So far, the research team has selected two study reaches on the Cottonwood River near Plymouth, upstream of John Redmond Reservoir. Pre-construction surveys were completed using a total station to characterize study reaches prior to the instillation of streambank stabilization projects. The team characterized the geotechnical properties of streambank material using soil borings and also developed preliminary hydraulic models to estimate boundary shear stress exerted by the flow at the research site.

Contact:  Trisha Moore, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Kansas State University

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