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Among the various habitat types within a river corridor, sandbars are highly dynamic and quite sensitive to changes such as channel width, streamflow, and riparian woodland expansion. As people, infrastructure, and other factors encroach upon the Lower Platte River, we are exploring variation in the height and area of sandbars to better accommodate all of these uses without jeopardizing these critical habitats.
In 2011, the USGS Nebraska Water Science Center began monitoring locations and geometries of sandbars along a 55-mile segment of the lower Platte River. Our goal is to answer these science questions:
This study has been completed in phases, beginning with the pilot study in 2011. These sandbar surveys have been completed:
Sandbar geometry was measured on the "dry crown" of each sandbar. The highest area on the sandbar was identified while in the field and 5-9 evenly spaced measurements were taken with GPS (Global Positioning System). Additionally, 9 time-lapse cameras were installed along the river to provide visual information about how sandbars erode and emerge from the river during the various seasons and at various streamflows.
Results from the final phase of this study are being synthesized and will be released as a journal article.
Below are multimedia items associated with this project.
Below are partners associated with this project.