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Combining active and passive hydroacoustic techniques during flood events for rapid spatial mapping of bedload transport patterns in gravel-bed rivers

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Turbulent flow in rivers and the associated movement of sediment creates unique underwater soundscapes that can be measured passively with hydrophones while Acoustic Doppler Profilers (ADP) are an active form of hydroacoustic sampling that can be used to provide a surrogate measurement of Apparent Bedload Velocity (ABV). In our study, longitudinal profiles of ADP and sound were simultaneously measured, while floating the river in a raft on the Nyack Floodplain of the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, USA during flood events exceeding bankfull conditions. In addition, similar measurements were carried out on the Kootenai River during a prescribed flood release aimed at mobilizing gravel bed sediment to positively impact White Sturgeon spawning. Both data sets revealed spatially explicit zones of coherent ABV and bedload intensity (sound) over the two 12 km river segments. The ability to remotely and in real-time assess bedload transport for large gravel-bed rivers, on the floodplain scale, is a missing piece of information important for basic ecological understanding and applied science, specifically management decisions regarding regulated rivers worldwide. With these data sets we demonstrate a new methodology for rapid real-time spatial surveying of bedload transport in large gravel-bed rivers.
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Keywords: AQUATIC HABITAT; BEDLOAD TRANSPORT; FLOODPLAIN; GRAVEL-BED; HYDROACOUSTICS; SOUNDSCAPE; UNDERWATER ACOUSTIC

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2014

More about this publication?
  • Fundamental and Applied Limnology is an international journal for freshwater research in the widest sense, including problems of marine biology and brackish water research. Papers dealing with ecological topics are especially welcome in association with experimental or physiological studies. All papers published in this journal are subject to peer review.

    Archiv für Hydrobiologie, now Fundamental and Applied Limnology has been published continuously since 1906.

    Volumes prior to vol. 168 were published under the previous title Archiv für Hydrobiologie.
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