Measuring and Monitoring Sediment Transport in an Ephemeral Stream; Physical and Surrogate Data Collection

Project ID: 1871
Principal Investigator: David Varyu
Research Topic: Sediment Management and River Restoration
Funded Fiscal Years: 2018, 2019 and 2020
Keywords: None

Research Question

Is there a strong statistical regression between surrogate measurements and definitive (direct) measurements of sediment transport in ephemeral systems? Which surrogates are the most reliable to predict the discharge of bedload (e.g., seismic or acoustic)? What characteristic of the surrogate is most informative (e.g. total acoustic power or number of impacts for acoustic; amplitude at what frequency for seismic)? Can multiple calibrated turbidity sensors account for sandy suspended sediment concentrations to determine suspended load? Can LSPIV be useful to determine water velocity and discharge in flash-flood environments as shown elsewhere?

Need and Benefit

River maintenance and other in-channel projects – whether for water delivery, public safety, habitat restoration, or other – need to be designed and implemented with a knowledge or river processes and channel morphology to ensure project success. Process and morphology are a result of the magnitude and timing of water and sediment delivery to the channel. A method to adequately quantify sediment delivery from ephemeral tributaries in a reliable and cost-effective manner does not exist. This research will benefit any office charged with rivers that have ephemeral tributaries. Rivers that Reclamation has a vested interest in that also have ephemeral tributaries include the Rio Grande (UC), Colorado (UC and LC), San Joaquin (MP), Sacramento (MP), Truckee (LC), San Juan (UC), Animas (UC), Arkansas (GP) and Salt (LC), to name a few.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Bureau of Reclamation Review

The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.

Monitoring Sediment Transport in an Ephemeral Stream (final, PDF, 8.1MB)
By David Varyu
Report completed on September 30, 2020

This research product summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

Monitoring Sediment Transport in an Ephemeral Stream (final, PDF, 352KB)
By David Varyu
R&D Bulletin completed on March 30, 2021

This bulletin summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

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Last Updated: 6/22/20