Coupling channel evolution monitoring and RFID tracking in a large, wandering, gravel-bed river: Insights into sediment routing on geomorphic continuity through a riffle–pool sequence

Abstract : Bedload transport and bedform mobility in large gravel-bed rivers are not easily monitored, especially during floods. Large reaches present difficulties in bed access during flows for flow measurements. Because of these logistical issues, the current knowledge about bedload transport processes and bedform mobility lacks field-based information, while this missing information would precisely match river management needs. The lack of information linking channel evolution and particle displacements is even more striking in wandering reaches. The Durance River is a large, wandering, gravel-bed river (catchment area: 14,280 km2; mean width: 240 m), located in the southern French Alps and highly impacted by flow diversion and gravel mining. In order to improve current understanding of the link between sediment transport processes and river bed morphodynamics, we set up a sediment particle survey in the channel using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tracking and topographic surveys (GPS RTK and scour chains) for a 4-year recurrence interval flood. By combining topographic changes before and after a flood, intraflood erosion/deposition patterns from scour chains, differential routing of tracer particles, and spatial distribution of bed shear stress through a complex reach, this paper aims to define the critical shear stress for significant sediment mobility in this setting. Gravel tracking highlights displacement patterns in agreement with bar downstream migration and transport of particles across the riffle within this single flood event. Because no velocity measurements were possible during flood, a TELEMAC three-dimensional model helped interpret particle displacements by estimating spatial distribution of shear stresses and flow directions at peak flow. Although RFID tracking in a large, wandering, gravel-bed river does have some technical limitations (burial, recovery process time-consuming), it provides useful information on sediment routing through a riffle–pool sequence.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01285676
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Submitted on : Wednesday, March 9, 2016 - 4:01:32 PM
Last modification on : Monday, July 15, 2019 - 11:28:02 AM

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Margot Chapuis, Simon Dufour, Mireille Provansal, Bernard Couvert, Matthieu de Linares. Coupling channel evolution monitoring and RFID tracking in a large, wandering, gravel-bed river: Insights into sediment routing on geomorphic continuity through a riffle–pool sequence. Geomorphology, Elsevier, 2015, 231, pp.258-269. ⟨http://authors.elsevier.com/sd/article/S0169555X14006151⟩. ⟨10.1016/j.geomorph.2014.12.013⟩. ⟨hal-01285676⟩

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