Bed texture mapping in large rivers using recreational-grade sidescan sonar

By: , and 

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Abstract

The size-distribution and spatial organization of bed sediment, or bed ‘texture’, is a fundamental attribute of natural channels and is one important component of the physical habitat of aquatic ecosystems. ‘Recreational-grade’ sidescan sonar systems now offer the possibility of imaging, and subsequently quantifying bed texture at high resolution with minimal cost, or logistical effort. We are investigating the possibility of using sidescan sonar sensors on commercially available ‘fishfinders’ for within-channel bed-sediment characterization of mixed sand-gravel riverbeds in a debris-fan dominated canyon river. We analyzed repeat substrate mapping of data collected before and after the November 2014 High Flow Experiment on the Colorado River in lower Marble Canyon, Arizona. The mapping analysis resulted in sufficient spatial coverage (e.g. reach) and resolutions (e.g. centrimetric) to inform studies of the effects of changing bed substrates on salmonid spawning on large rivers. From this preliminary study, we argue that the approach could become a tractable and cost-effective tool for aquatic scientists to rapidly obtain bed texture maps without specialized knowledge of hydroacoustics. Bed texture maps can be used as a physical input for models relating ecosystem responses to hydrologic management.

Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Bed texture mapping in large rivers using recreational-grade sidescan sonar
DOI 10.1201/9781315644479-51
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher CRC Press
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description 7 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title River Flow 2016--Eighth International Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics
First page 306
Last page 312
Conference Title River Flow 2016--Eighth International Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics
Conference Location Iowa City, IL
Conference Date July 11-14, 2016