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Earth Surface Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
25 Sep 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth Surface Dynamics (ESurf).
The influence of a vegetated bar on channel-bend flow dynamics
Sharon Bywater-Reyes1,2, Rebecca M. Diehl1, and Andrew C. Wilcox1 1Department of Geosciences, University of Montana, 32 Campus Drive #1296, Missoula, Montana, 59812-1296, USA
2Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, 501 20 St., Greeley, Colorado, 80639, USA
Abstract. Alternating bars influence hydraulics, morphodynamics, and channel geometry in alluvial rivers. Recruitment of pioneer woody riparian vegetation is tightly coupled with bar building, yet the influence of vegetation on changing bend hydraulics and forces has been unresolved. We use a two-dimensional hydraulic model that accounts for vegetation drag to test the sensitivity of channel-bend hydraulics to riparian vegetation for a gravel-bed river with bars. A calibrated model for the Bitterroot River, Montana (United States) run with and without varied vegetation parameters on a bar shows vegetation slows flow upstream of the bar, steers the high-velocity core of flow toward the cutbank, and creates a large gradient in cross-stream velocity. Results are consistent with a feedback in channels with vegetated bars whereby vegetation steers flow towards the opposite bank, increasing bank erosion at the mid- and downstream end of the bend, and simultaneously increasing rates of bar accretion through reduction in velocity. Collectively, these patterns of morphodynamics influence topographic steering and channel migration rates.
Citation: Bywater-Reyes, S., Diehl, R. M., and Wilcox, A. C.: The influence of a vegetated bar on channel-bend flow dynamics, Earth Surf. Dynam. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Sharon Bywater-Reyes et al.
Sharon Bywater-Reyes et al.
Sharon Bywater-Reyes et al.


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