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Preliminary assessment of vertical stability and gravel transport along the Umpqua River, southwestern Oregon

April 29, 2009

This report addresses physical channel issues related to instream gravel mining on the Umpqua River and its two primary tributaries, the North and South Umpqua Rivers. This analysis constitutes a “Phase I” investigation, as designated by an interagency team cochaired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District, and the Oregon Department of State Lands to address instream gravel mining issues across Oregon. Phase I analyses rely primarily on existing datasets and cursory analysis to determine the vertical stability of a channel to ascertain whether a particular river channel is aggrading, degrading, or at equilibrium. Additionally, a Phase I analysis identifies other critical issues or questions pertinent to physical channel conditions that may be related to instream gravel mining activities.

This analysis can support agency permitting decisions as well as possibly indicating the need for additional studies. This specific analysis focuses on the mainstem Umpqua River from the Pacific Ocean at River Mile (RM) 0 to the confluence of the North and South Umpqua Rivers (at RM 111.8), as well as the lower 29 mi of the North Umpqua River and the lower 80 mi of the South Umpqua River (fig. 1). It is within these reaches where mining of gravel bars for aggregate has been most prevalent.