Sediment-transport theory and field measurements indicate that the greatest or most efficient deposition of sand in eddies occurs during controlled floods (a.k.a. High-Flow Experiments or HFEs) when the greatest amount of the finest sand is available on the bed of the Colorado River (Topping and others, 2010). Conducting HFEs when the sand on the bed of the Colorado River is depleted and coarse can result in relatively widespread erosion of sandbars during HFEs (Hazel and others, 1999; Schmidt, 1999, Rubin and others, 2002). Here we show that sandbar building during HFEs is maximized during periods following tributary floods that resupply the river with large amounts of very fine sand. Conversely, sandbars erode during HFEs when the antecedent sand supply is depleted and coarse. HFEs should be conducted during the fall-winter months of October through January to take advantage of having the greatest amount of very fine sand available on the bed of the Colorado River in Marble Canyon. Conducting HFEs in the spring would necessitate lowering dam operations over the winter months in order to retain the very fine sand supplied during the previous summer.
|Title||Optimal timing of high-flow experiments for sandbar deposition|
|Authors||David Topping, Paul E. Grams, Ronald E. Griffiths, Joseph E. Hazel, Matthew Kaplinski, David Dean, Nicholas Voichick, Joel Unema, Thomas A. Sabol|
|Publication Type||Conference Paper|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Southwest Biological Science Center|