Large, episodic inputs of coarse sediment (sediment pulses) in forested, mountain streams may result in changes in the size and arrangement of bed forms and in channel roughness. A conceptual model of channel organization delineates trajectories of response to sediment pulses for many types of gravel bed channels. Channels exhibited self‐organizing behavior to various degrees based on channel gradient, presence of large in‐channel wood or other forcing elements, the size of the sediment pulse, and the number of bed‐mobilizing flows since disturbance. Typical channel changes following a sediment pulse were initial decreases in water depth, in variability of bed elevations, and in the regularity of bed form spacing. Trajectories of change subsequently showed increased average water depth, more variable and complex bed topography, and increased uniformity of bed form spacing. Bed form spacing in streams with abundant forcing elements developed at a shorter spatial scale (two to five channel widths) than in streams without such forcing mechanisms (five to 10 channel widths). Channel roughness increased as bed forms developed.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Development of channel organization and roughness following sediment pulses in single‐thread, gravel bed rivers|
|Series title||Water Resources Research|
|Publisher||American Geophysical Union|
|Contributing office(s)||Western Ecological Research Center|