This Title All WIREs
How to cite this WIREs title:
WIREs Water
Impact Factor: 4.451

Characterizing geomorphological change to support sustainable river restoration and management

Full article on Wiley Online Library:   HTML PDF

Can't access this content? Tell your librarian.

The hydrology and geomorphology of most rivers has been fundamentally altered through a long history of human interventions including modification of river channels, floodplains, and wider changes in the landscape that affect water and sediment delivery to the river. Resultant alterations in fluvial forms and processes have negatively impacted river ecology via the loss of physical habitat, disruption to the longitudinal continuity of the river, and lateral disconnection between aquatic, wetland, and terrestrial ecosystems. Through a characterization of geomorphological change, it is possible to peel back the layers of time to investigate how and why a river has changed. Process rates can be assessed, the historical condition of rivers can be determined, the trajectories of past changes can be reconstructed, and the role of specific human interventions in these geomorphological changes can be assessed. To achieve this, hydrological, geomorphological, and riparian vegetation characteristics are investigated within a hierarchy of spatial scales using a range of data sources. A temporal analysis of fluvial geomorphology supports process‐based management that targets underlying problems. In this way, effective, sustainable management and restoration solutions can be developed that recognize the underlying drivers of geomorphological change, the constraints imposed on current fluvial processes, and the possible evolutionary trajectories and timelines of change under different future management scenarios. Catchment/river basin planning, natural flood risk management, the identification and appraisal of pressures, and the assessment of restoration needs and objectives would all benefit from a thorough temporal analysis of fluvial geomorphology. WIREs Water 2014, 1:483–512. doi: 10.1002/wat2.1037 This article is categorized under: Water and Life > Conservation, Management, and Awareness Water and Life > Stresses and Pressures on Ecosystems Science of Water > Water and Environmental Change
Hierarchy of spatial scales for the assessment of river geomorphology with indicative spatial and time scales.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Possible evolutionary trajectories for the (line A) upper Piave, (line B) lower Brenta, and (line C) Cellina rivers (Italy) based on different sediment management strategies (no interventions, reach scale interventions, or reach + basin scale interventions). (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2013 Wiley)
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Temporal changes in cross‐section form and bed level for a reach in the Brenta River, Italy (1932–1997). (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 1997 Wiley)
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
An analysis of historical maps reveal significant anthropogenic alterations to the Danube River that have impacted its planform and the presence of geomorphic features within the channel and floodplain. (a) The Danube ‘riverscape’ prior to significant human alteration (1812), after an intensive channelization period (1859), and after the construction of a hydropower plant and further channelization (2006). (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2013 John Wiley & Sons)
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Floodplain age and vegetation community in the Sacramento River. Floodplain age was determined from a historical analysis of planform changes using historical maps and aerial photographs. Note the shift from gravel bars to cottonwood forest to mixed riparian forest with increasing floodplain age. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2011 Elsevier)
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Alteration of flow regime caused by dam construction and operation. (a) Annual floods on the Savannah River (USA), pre‐ and post‐construction of the Thurmond Dam in 1942 (Modified with permission from the author) (b) Changes to the annual hydrograph caused by construction of successive dams, and (c) changes to daily flows (i.e., hydropeaking) as a result of dam operation on the Aragón River (Spain). (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 1980 Springer)
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Changes in bed level over time for the Arno River, Italy. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2007 Elsevier)
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
A chronology is a valuable tool to integrate data sources, track changes in hydrological and geomorphological characteristics over time, and explore causal linkages. An example from the Tagliamento River that explores the impact of pressures on channel width (dimensionless, W/Wmax) and bed level. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2001 Elsevier)
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Temporal scales over which different approaches may yield useful information (solid lines are the core temporal scales; dashed lines illustrate the potential range of temporal scales).
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]

Related Articles

Remote Sensing of Water Environments

Browse by Topic

Water and Life > Conservation, Management, and Awareness
Water and Life > Stresses and Pressures on Ecosystems
Science of Water > Water and Environmental Change

Access to this WIREs title is by subscription only.

Recommend to Your
Librarian Now!

The latest WIREs articles in your inbox

Sign Up for Article Alerts