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The effect of channel shape, bed morphology, and shipwrecks on flow velocities in the Upper St. Clair River

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Abstract

In the Great Lakes of North America, the St. Clair River is the major outlet of Lake Huron and conveys water to Lake St. Clair which then flows to Lake Erie. One major topic of interest is morphological change in the St. Clair River and its impact on water levels in the Upper Great Lakes and connecting channel flows. A combined multibeam echosounder (MBES) bathymetric survey and acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) flow survey of the outlet of Lake Huron and the Upper St. Clair River was conducted July 21 – 25, 2008. This paper presents how channel morphology and shipwrecks affect the flow in the Upper St. Clair River. The river is most constricted at the Blue Water Bridge near Port Huron, Michigan, with water velocities over 2 ms-1 for a flow of 5,200 m3s-1. Downstream of this constriction, the river flows around a bend and expands creating a large recirculation zone along the left bank due to flow separation. This recirculation zone reduces the effective channel width, and thus increases flow velocities to over 2 ms-1 in this region. The surveys reveal several shipwrecks on the bed of the St. Clair River, which possess distinct wakes in their flow velocity downstream of the wrecks. The constriction and expansion of the channel, combined with forcing of the flow by bed topography, initiates channel-scale secondary flow, creating streamwise vortices that maintain coherence downstream over a distance of several channel widths.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title The effect of channel shape, bed morphology, and shipwrecks on flow velocities in the Upper St. Clair River
Year Published 2009
Language English
Publisher International Association of Hydraulic Engineering and Research
Contributing office(s) Office of Surface Water
Description 8 p.
Larger Work Type Conference Paper
Larger Work Title 33rd IAHR Congress: Water Engineering for a Sustainable Environment
Conference Title 33rd IAHR Congress: Water Engineering for a Sustainable Environment
Conference Location Vancouver, British Columbia
Conference Date August 9-14 2009
Other Geospatial Upper St. Clair River
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N