An ensemble of rule-based models was constructed to assess possible future braided river planform configurations for the Toklat River in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska. This approach combined an analysis of large-scale influences on stability with several reduced-complexity models to produce the predictions at a practical level for managers concerned about the persistence of bank erosion while acknowledging the great uncertainty in any landscape prediction. First, a model of confluence angles reproduced observed angles of a major confluence, but showed limited susceptibility to a major rearrangement of the channel planform downstream. Second, a probabilistic map of channel locations was created with a two-parameter channel avulsion model. The predicted channel belt location was concentrated in the same area as the current channel belt. Finally, a suite of valley-scale channel and braid plain characteristics were extracted from a light detection and ranging (LiDAR)-derived surface. The characteristics demonstrated large-scale stabilizing topographic influences on channel planform. The combination of independent analyses increased confidence in the conclusion that the Toklat River braided planform is a dynamically stable system due to large and persistent valley-scale influences, and that a range of avulsive perturbations are likely to result in a relatively unchanged planform configuration in the short term.
Additional Publication Details
Predicting the planform configuration of the braided Toklat River, AK with a suite of rule-based models
Journal of the American Water Resources Association