Hydraulic characteristics, water velocity, depth, and flow direction were measured near eight sites along the Kenai River in southcentral Alaska. Each of the eight sites contained a different type of structure: a road-type boat launch, a canal-type boat launch, a floating dock, a rock retaining wall, a pile-supported dock, a jetty, a concrete retaining wall, and a bank stabilization project near the city of Soldotna. Measurements of hydraulic characteristics were made to determine to what extent the structures affected natural or ambient stream hydraulic characteristics. The results will be used by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to evaluate assumptions used in their Habitat Evaluation Procedure assessment of juvenile chinook salmon habitat along the river and to improve their understanding of stream hydraulics for use in permitting potential projects. The study included structures along the Kenai River from about 12 to 42 miles upstream from the mouth. Hydraulic characteristics were measured during medium-, high-, and low-flow conditions, as measured at the Kenai River at Soldotna: (1) discharge ranged from 6,310 to 6,480 cubic feet per second during medium flow conditions that were near mean annual flow on June 9-10, 1994; (2) discharge ranged from 14,000 to 14,400 cubic feet per second during high flow conditions that were near peak annual flow conditions on August 2-3, 1994; and (3) discharge ranged from 3,470 to 3,660 cubic feet per second during open-water low-flow conditions on May 8-9, 1995. Measurements made at the structures were compared with measurements made at nearby unaffected natural sites. The floating dock, pile-supported dock, road-type boat launch, and concrete retaining wall did not significantly alter the stream channel area. These structures contributed only hydraulic-roughness type changes. The structures occupied a much smaller area than that of the wetted perimeter of the channel and thus typically had little effect on velocity, depth, or flow direction. During this investigation, many of these subtle effects could not be separated from ambient hydraulic conditions. The jetty significantly altered stream channel area and therefore affected stream hydraulics more than the other structures that were investigated. Data indicated that velocity increased from 1.9 to 5.8 feet per second near the point of the jetty during measurements in May, June, and August. Rock wall and jetty structures also divert flow away from near-shore areas in proportion to their projection lengths into the river. For the jetty, the effect on surface flow was observed downstream for a distance of about 10 times the length of the jetty's projection into the river and upstream for about 4 to 5 times the length of the projection. For the rock wall, the diversion of flow was evident for 10 to 15 feet downstream.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Hydraulic characteristics near streamside structures along the Kenai River, Alaska
Water-Resources Investigations Report
U.S. Geological Survey ;
Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section [distributor],