Recovery of a Meandering River to Channelization

Authors: Chelsy Salas*, University of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign, Bruce Rhoads, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Topics: Geomorphology
Keywords: Fluvial Geomorphology, River Dynamics, Channelization, Meandering
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 3
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Much research in fluvial science has been dedicated to understanding why and how meandering of initially straight channels develops over time. Attempts to understand this issue more thoroughly have been conducted through experimental work completed in laboratories and formulations of mathematical and conceptual models. Despite these efforts, meander development is still not fully understood, particularly over long timescales. This study seeks to contribute to this area of research by examining the development of meanders in Big Pine Creek Ditch, a small headwater stream located in Benton County, Indiana which was originally straightened in 1932. The objective of the research is to determine the timescale over which meanders develop and spatial variation in this development. The evolution of meandering along Big Pine Creek Ditch was first examined by Barnard and Melhorn in 1982 using manual analysis of channel change and historical aerial photographs from 1938-1971. The current project extends Barnard and Melhornā€™s timeline from 1938-2018, totaling 86 years. GIS-based methods are used to reanalyze channel change between 1938 and 1971 using five sets of historical images while also updating analysis from 1971-2018 using five additional sets of historical images. Results reveal that recovery rates of sinuosity are linear over time, occur more rapidly than predicted by Barnard and Melhorn (1982), and exhibit high spatial variability.

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