Event Title

Impacts of beaver dams on channel hydraulics and characteristics

Location

Eccles Conference Center

Event Website

http://water.usu.edu

Start Date

1-4-2014 4:40 PM

End Date

1-4-2014 4:45 PM

Description

Beaver dams have significant impacts on the hydrology, temperature, biogeochemical processes, and geomorphology of streams and riparian areas. They have also been used as a viable tool in restoring impaired riverine systems. Due to the dynamic nature of beaver dams, these impacts vary and are difficult to quantify. To begin understanding the impacts of beaver dams on riverine systems, we developed a 1-D hydraulic model for a beaver impacted reach that includes seven dams and a reach with no dams present to compare hydraulic responses. We also compared observations of substrate sizes, gradients, and geomorphic/habitat units for each reach. Results from the model indicated an alteration of the run-riffle-pool sequence, decreased flow velocities, and increased depths through the beaver impacted reach. These geomorphic and hydraulic adjustments are consistent with observed changes in the increased variability in sediment size distributions. Along with decreasing flow velocities and the storage and distribution of sediments, beaver impacted reaches showed the opportunity for greater channel and bank stability and increased habitat complexity. In general, these data and model results suggest that many common stream restoration goals could be met through the introduction of beavers.

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Apr 1st, 4:40 PM Apr 1st, 4:45 PM

Impacts of beaver dams on channel hydraulics and characteristics

Eccles Conference Center

Beaver dams have significant impacts on the hydrology, temperature, biogeochemical processes, and geomorphology of streams and riparian areas. They have also been used as a viable tool in restoring impaired riverine systems. Due to the dynamic nature of beaver dams, these impacts vary and are difficult to quantify. To begin understanding the impacts of beaver dams on riverine systems, we developed a 1-D hydraulic model for a beaver impacted reach that includes seven dams and a reach with no dams present to compare hydraulic responses. We also compared observations of substrate sizes, gradients, and geomorphic/habitat units for each reach. Results from the model indicated an alteration of the run-riffle-pool sequence, decreased flow velocities, and increased depths through the beaver impacted reach. These geomorphic and hydraulic adjustments are consistent with observed changes in the increased variability in sediment size distributions. Along with decreasing flow velocities and the storage and distribution of sediments, beaver impacted reaches showed the opportunity for greater channel and bank stability and increased habitat complexity. In general, these data and model results suggest that many common stream restoration goals could be met through the introduction of beavers.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/runoff/2014/2014Posters/29