Velocity, bathymetry, and transverse (cross-channel) mixing characteristics were studied in a 34-mile study reach of the Ohio River extending from the lower pool of the Captain Anthony Meldahl Lock and Dam, near Willow Grove, Ky, to just downstream from the confluence of the Licking and Ohio Rivers, near Newport, Ky. Information gathered in this study ultimately will be used to parameterize hydrodynamic and water-quality models that are being developed for the study reach.
Velocity data were measured at an average cross-section spacing of about 2,200 feet by means of boat-mounted acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs). ADCP data were postprocessed to create text files describing the three-dimensional velocity characteristics in each transect.
Bathymetry data were measured at an average transect spacing of about 800 feet by means of a boat-mounted single-beam echosounder. Depth information obtained from the echosounder were postprocessed with water-surface slope and elevation information collected during the surveys to compute stream-bed elevations. The bathymetry data were written to text files formatted as a series of space-delimited x-, y-, and z-coordinates.
Two separate dye-tracer studies were done on different days in overlapping stream segments in an 18.3-mile section of the study reach to assess transverse mixing characteristics in the Ohio River. Rhodamine WT dye was injected into the river at a constant rate, and concentrations were measured in downstream cross sections, generally spaced 1 to 2 miles apart. The dye was injected near the Kentucky shoreline during the first study and near the Ohio shoreline during the second study. Dye concentrations were measured along transects in the river by means of calibrated fluorometers equipped with flow-through chambers, automatic temperature compensation, and internal data loggers. The use of flow-through chambers permitted water to be pumped continuously out of the river from selected depths and through the fluorometer for measurement as the boat traversed the river. Time-tagged concentration readings were joined with horizontal coordinate data simultaneously captured from a differentially corrected Global Positioning System (GPS) device to create a plain-text, comma-separated variable file containing spatially tagged dye-concentration data.
Plots showing the transverse variation in relative dye concentration indicate that, within the stream segments sampled, complete transverse mixing of the dye did not occur. In addition, the highest concentrations of dye tended to be nearest the side of the river from which the dye was injected.
Velocity, bathymetry, and dye-concentration data collected during this study are available for Internet download by means of hyperlinks in this report. Data contained in this report were collected between October 2004 and March 2006.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Velocity, bathymetry, and transverse mixing characteristics of the Ohio River upstream from Cincinnati, Ohio, October 2004-March 2006