Author(s): Jonathan A. Czuba; Andrew S. Gendaszek; Christopher S. Magirl; Christopher P. Konrad; Christiana R. Czuba
Keywords: Confined channel; Scour; Salmon redd; Two-dimensional hydrodynamic modelling; Human impacts; Streambed disturbance
Abstract: Human impacts on rivers threaten the natural function of riverine ecosystems. This paper assesses how channel confinement affects the scour depth and spatial extent of bed disturbance and discusses the implications of these results for salmon-redd disturbance in gravel-bedded rivers. Two-dimensional hydrodynamic models of relatively confined and unconfined reaches of the Cedar River in Washington State, USA, were constructed with surveyed bathymetry and available airborne lidar data then calibrated and verified with field observations of water-surface elevation and streamflow velocity. Simulations showed greater water depths and velocities in the confined reach and greater areas of low-velocity inundation in the unconfined reach at high flows. Data on previously published scour depth of bed disturbance during high flows were compared to simulated bed shear stress to construct a probabilistic logistic-regression model of bed disturbance, which was applied to spatial patterns of simulated bed shear stress to quantify the extent of likely bed disturbance to the burial depth of sockeye and Chinook salmon redds. The disturbance depth was not observed to differ between confined and unconfined reaches; however, results indicated the spatial extent of disturbance to a given depth in the confined reach was roughly twice as large as in the unconfined reach.