The Cedar River in Washington State originates on the western slope of the Cascade Range and provides the City of Seattle with most of its drinking water, while also supporting a productive salmon habitat. Water-resource managers require detailed information on how best to manage high-flow releases from Chester Morse Lake, a large reservoir on the Cedar River, during periods of heavy precipitation to minimize flooding, while mitigating negative effects on fish populations. Instream flow-management practices include provisions for adaptive management to promote and maintain healthy aquatic habitat in the river system. The current study is designed to understand the linkages between peak flow characteristics, geomorphic processes, riverine habitat, and biological responses. Specifically, two-dimensional hydrodynamic modeling is used to simulate and quantify the effects of the peak-flow magnitude, duration, and frequency on the channel morphology and salmon-spawning habitat. Two study reaches, representative of the typical geomorphic and ecologic characteristics of the Cedar River, were selected for the modeling. Detailed bathymetric data, collected with a real-time kinematic global positioning system and an acoustic Doppler current profiler, were combined with a LiDAR-derived digital elevation model in the overbank area to develop a computational mesh. The model is used to simulate water velocity, benthic shear stress, flood inundation, and morphologic changes in the gravel-bedded river under the current and alternative flood-release strategies. Simulations of morphologic change and salmon-redd scour by floods of differing magnitude and duration enable water-resource managers to incorporate model simulation results into adaptive management of peak flows in the Cedar River. PDF version of a presentation on hydrodynamic modelling in the Cedar River in Washington state. Presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2010.
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USGS Unnumbered Series
Two-dimensional hydrodynamic modeling to quantify effects of peak-flow management on channel morphology and salmon-spawning habitat in the Cedar River, Washington