Geomorphic and hydraulic assessment of the Bear River in and near Evanston, Wyoming

Water-Resources Investigations Report 93-4032




Geomorphic and hydraulic characteristics of the Bear River in and near Evanston, Wyoming, were assessed to assist planners in stabilizing the river channel. Present-day channel instability is the result of both human-made and natural factors. The primary factor is channelization of the river in Evanston, where several meander loops were cut off artificially during early development of the city. Other contributing factors include channel-width constrictions, bank stabilization, isolated bend cutoffs upstream from the city, and flooding in 1983 and 1984. A geomorphic analysis of bankfull-channel pattern, based on four aerial photographs taken during 1946-86, quantified geomorphic properties (reach sinuosity, bend sinuosity, bend radius of curvature, and bed length) that are characteristic of the study reach. The reach sinuosity of reach 2 (the channelized reach in Evanston) was 1.18 in 1986 and remained about the same throughout the period (1946-86). The reach sinuosity of reach 2 prior to channelization was substantially larger, about 2.3 as determined from maps prepared before 1946. Hydraulic analysis of the present-day channel (surveyed 1981-87) using a one-dimensional water-surface-profile computer model identified a bankfull discharge for the study reach of 3,600 cu ft/sec. A comparison of bankfull hydraulic properties for reaches 1, 2, and 3 indicated that the effects in reach 2 of channelization and channel-width constriction--increased slope, faster velocities, and greater hydraulic radii. The present-day channel slope in reach 2 is 0.00518 ft/ft, whereas a more stable slope would be between 0.00431 ft/ft (present-day slope in reach 1) and 0.00486 ft/ft (present-day slope in reach 3).

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USGS Numbered Series
Geomorphic and hydraulic assessment of the Bear River in and near Evanston, Wyoming
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ; U.S. Geological Survey, Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section [distributor],
v, 61 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.