In this study, we compared pre-lock-and-dam (ca. 1925) with a modern longitudinal survey of main-channel-bed sediments along a 740-km segment of the upper Mississippi River (UMR) between Davenport, IA, and Cairo, IL. This comparison was undertaken to gain a better understanding of how bed sediments are distributed longitudinally and to assess change since the completion of the UMR lock and dam navigation system and Missouri River dams (i.e., mid-twentieth century). The comparison of the historic and modern longitudinal bed sediment surveys showed similar bed sediment sizes and distributions along the study segment with the majority (> 90%) of bed sediment samples having a median diameter (D50) of fine to coarse sand. The fine tail (≤ D10) of the sediment size distributions was very fine to medium sand, and the coarse tail (≥ D90) of sediment-size distribution was coarse sand to gravel. Coarsest sediments in both surveys were found within or immediately downstream of bedrock-floored reaches. Statistical analysis revealed that the particle-size distributions between the survey samples were statistically identical, suggesting no overall difference in main-channel-bed sediment-size distribution between 1925 and present. This was a surprising result given the magnitude of river engineering undertaken along the study segment over the past ~ 90 years. The absence of substantial differences in main-channel-bed-sediment size suggests that flow competencies within the highly engineered navigation channel today are similar to conditions within the less-engineered historic channel.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Particle size distribution of main-channel-bed sediments along the upper Mississippi River, USA|
|Contributing office(s)||Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center|
|Other Geospatial||Upper Mississippi River|
|Online Only (Y/N)||N|
|Additional Online Files (Y/N)||N|