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A flood-control dam was completed during 1979 on Bear Creek, a small tributary stream to the South Platte River in the Denver, Colorado, area. Before and after dam closure, repetitive surveys between 1977 and 1992 at five cross sections downstream of the dam documented changes in channel morphology. During this 15-year period, channel width increased slightly, but channel depth increased by more than 40 percent. Within the study reach, stream gradient decreased and median bed material sizes coarsened from sand in the pools and fine gravel on the riffle to a median coarse gravel throughout the reach. The most striking visual change was from a sparse growth of streamside grasses to a dense growth of riparian woody vegetation.
Additional Publication Details
Channel changes downstream from a dam
Journal of the American Water Resources Association