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Annual replenishment of bed material by sediment transport in the Wind River near Riverton, Wyoming

January 1, 1994

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Wyoming Department of Transportation, conducted a study during 1985-87 to determine the annual replenishment of sand and gravel along a point bar in the Wind River near Riverton, Wyoming. Hydraulic- geometry relations determined from streamflow measurements; streamflow characteristics determined from 45 years of record at the study site; and analyses of suspended-sediment, bedload, and bed- material samples were used to describe river transport characteristics and to estimate the annual replenishment of sand and gravel. The Wind River is a perennial, snowmelt-fed stream. Average daily discharge at the study site is about 734 cubic feet per second, and bankfull discharge (recurrence interval about 1.5 years) is about 5,000 cubic feet per second. At bankfull discharge, the river is about 136 feet wide and has an average depth of about 5.5 feet and average velocity of about 6.7 feet per second. Streams slope is about 0.0010 foot per foot. Bed material sampled on the point bar before the 1986 high flows ranged from sand to cobbles, with a median diameter of about 22 millimeters. Data for sediment samples collected during water year 1986 were used to develop regression equations between suspended-sediment load and water discharge and between bedload and water discharge. Average annual suspended-sediment load was computed to be about 561,000 tons per year using the regression equation in combination with flow-duration data. The regression equation for estimating bedload was not used; instead, average annual bedload was computed as 1.5 percent of average annual suspended load about 8,410 tons per year. This amount of bedload material is estimated to be in temporary storage along a reach containing seven riffles--a length of approximately 1 river mile. On the basis of bedload material sampled during the 1986 high flows, about 75 percent (by weight) is sand (2 millimeters in diameter or finer); median particle size is about 0.5 milli- meter. About 20 percent (by weight) is medium gravel to small cobbles--12.7 millimeters (0.5 inch) or coarser. The bedload moves slowly (about 0.03 percent of the water speed) and briefly (about 10 percent of the time). The average travel distance of a median-sized particle is about 1 river mile per year. The study results indicate that the average replenishment rate of bedload material coarser than 12.7 millimeters is about 1,500 to 2,000 tons (less than 1,500 cubic yards) per year. Finer material (0.075 to 6.4 millimeters in diameter) is replen- ishment at about 4,500 to 5,000 cubic yards per year. The total volume of potentially usable material would average about 6,000 cubic yards per year.

Publication Year 1994
Title Annual replenishment of bed material by sediment transport in the Wind River near Riverton, Wyoming
DOI 10.3133/wri944007
Authors M.L. Smalley, W. W. Emmett, A.M. Wacker
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series Number 94-4007
Index ID wri944007
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse