Impacts of the Jordanelle Dam on the hydrology and sedimentology of the Provo River: continued downstream adjustment

Authors: Suzanne Walther*, University of San Diego
Topics: Geomorphology, Water Resources and Hydrology
Keywords: dam impacts, sediment distribution, downstream adjustment
Session Type: Illustrated Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Canal St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The focus of dam research has been understanding their various impacts, investigating management strategies to reduce these effects, or, more recently, on dam removal. From these studies, we know that large dams alter flow and sediment transport, which can result in changes in stream morphology downstream of the impoundment. The type and scale of these responses vary based on the unique characteristics of the river system and the dam. These changes lead to changes in habitat downstream that can ultimately reduce ecosystem function and negatively impact certain species. Few large dams have been built in the past few decades. One such dam, the Jordanelle Dam on the Provo River in Utah, was constructed for water supply purposes and flood control after the addition of flow diversions had increased peak flows. While dams are known to alter flow distributions and sediment transport, resulting in many changes along the river, the Provo River is likely still undergoing riverine changes downstream of the Jordanelle Dam and Reservoir because stream impoundment occurred relatively recently. Therefore, it provides an opportunity for monitoring that can give us insight into understanding contemporary and ongoing sedimentation and vegetation adjustments after impoundment. Furthermore, the management of dams has developed, changed, and improved even in the last decade in the form of environmental flows, restoration and rehabilitation, and invasive species mitigation. This data can be used to inform improved management of this system, particularly because the dam will not be removed in the foreseeable future.

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