Simulation of Flow, Sediment Transport, and Sediment Mobility of the Lower Coeur d'Alene River, Idaho

Scientific Investigations Report 2008-5093

Prepared in cooperation with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, Basin Environmental Improvement Commission, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency



A one-dimensional sediment-transport model and a multi-dimensional hydraulic and bed shear stress model were developed to investigate the hydraulic, sediment transport, and sediment mobility characteristics of the lower Coeur d?Alene River in northern Idaho. This report documents the development and calibration of those models, as well as the results of model simulations. The one-dimensional sediment-transport model (HEC-6) was developed, calibrated, and used to simulate flow hydraulics and erosion, deposition, and transport of sediment in the lower Coeur d?Alene River. The HEC-6 modeled reach, comprised of 234 cross sections, extends from Enaville, Idaho, on the North Fork of the Coeur d?Alene River and near Pinehurst, Idaho, on the South Fork of the river to near Harrison, Idaho, on the main stem of the river. Bed-sediment samples collected by previous investigators and samples collected for this study in 2005 were used in the model. Sediment discharge curves from a previous study were updated using suspended-sediment samples collected at three sites since April 2000. The HEC-6 was calibrated using river discharge and water-surface elevations measured at five U.S. Geological Survey gaging stations. The calibrated HEC-6 model allowed simulation of management alternatives to assess erosion and deposition from proposed dredging of contaminated streambed sediments in the Dudley reach. Four management alternatives were simulated with HEC-6. Before the start of simulation for these alternatives, seven cross sections in the reach near Dudley, Idaho, were deepened 20 feet?removing about 296,000 cubic yards of sediments?to simulate dredging. Management alternative 1 simulated stage-discharge conditions from 2000, and alternative 2 simulated conditions from 1997. Results from alternatives 1 and 2 indicated that about 6,500 and 12,300 cubic yards, respectively, were deposited in the dredged reach. These figures represent 2 and 4 percent, respectively, of the total volume of dredged sediments removed before the start of simulation. In alternatives 3 and 4, the incoming total sediment discharges from the South Fork of the river were decreased by one-half. Management alternative 3 simulated stage-discharge conditions from 2000, and alternative 4 simulated conditions from 1997. Reducing incoming sediment discharge from the South Fork did not affect the streambed and deposition in the Dudley and downstream reaches, probably because the distance between the South Fork and the Dudley reach is long enough for sediment supply, transport capacity, and channel geometry to be balanced before reaching the Dudley and downstream reaches. Development and calibration of a multi-dimensional hydraulic and bed shear stress model (FASTMECH) allowed simulation of water-surface elevation, depth, velocity, bed shear stress, and sediment mobility in the Dudley reach (5.3 miles). The computational grid incorporated bathymetric and Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) data, with a node spacing of about 2.5 meters. With the exception of the fourth FASTMECH calibration simulation, results from the FASTMECH calibration simulations indicated that flow depths, flow velocities, and bed shear stresses increased as river discharge increased. Water-surface elevations in the fourth calibration simulation were about 2 feet higher than those in the other simulations because high lake levels in Coeur d?Alene Lake caused backwater conditions. Average simulated velocities along the thalweg ranged from about 3 to 5.3 feet per second, and maximum simulated velocities ranged from 3.9 to 7 feet per second. In the dredged reach, average simulated velocity along the thalweg ranged from 3.5 to 6 feet per second. The model also simulated several back-eddies (flow reversal); the largest eddy encompassed about one-third of the river width. Average bed shear stresses increased more than 200 percent from the first to the last simulation. Simulated sediment mobility, asses

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Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Simulation of Flow, Sediment Transport, and Sediment Mobility of the Lower Coeur d'Alene River, Idaho
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
Geological Survey (U.S.)
Contributing office(s):
Idaho Water Science Center
viii, 165 p.