Monitoring Suspended Sediment: An Investigation Coincident with the Cherry Creek Reservoir Annual Flush

Project ID: 20069
Principal Investigator: Daniel Dombroski
Research Topic: Sediment Management and River Restoration
Funded Fiscal Years: 2020, 2021 and 2022
Keywords: None

Research Question

The focus of this proposal is to address the need for more comprehensive suspended sediment monitoring by exploring the capabilities and limitations of emerging techniques for suspended-sediment surrogate monitoring using acoustic technology. The use of suspended-sediment surrogate methods, such as turbidity, laser-diffraction, and acoustic methods, offer the benefits of continuous temporal monitoring, lower cost, and safer implementation than conventional hand-held methods. The benefit of developing the capability may be widespread within Reclamation; the acquired data could be used to refine computational and theoretical tools, as well as gauge the sediment-related effects of reservoir operations including sedimentation rates and downstream water quality.

The proposal is a continuation of previous S&T-funded research that benefits from strong interagency collaboration. Over the prior three years (two of which received S&T support), Reclamation TSC engineers have partnered with the USGS and US Army Corps of Engineers to measure sediment releases, conduct surveys, and measure discharge coincident with an annual one-day flushing exercise at Cherry Creek Reservoir. Overall costs for the measurements are very low due to the location and sharing of resources; however, the resulting dataset is robust and worth continuing because of the scientific merit as well as the collaborations developed.

The work provides an opportunity for Reclamation engineers to gain further experience with a new and innovative sediment measurement device (LISST-ABS) which provides a cost-effective means to continuously monitor sediment, and which is gaining adoption at the project-level. Because the instrument is relatively new, the emerging multi-year dataset is of value to Reclamation, USGS, and US Army Corps of Engineers, all of which are actively evaluating the efficacy of the technique.

The PI is a member of the Sediment Acoustics Leadership Team (SALT), a multi-agency gro

Need and Benefit

The safety and sustainability of Reclamation infrastructure is at risk due to sedimentation processes that are inadequately monitored. Reclamation needs to investigate modern methods for monitoring sediment in order to better inform management decisions.

Contributing Partners

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Research Products

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Last Updated: 6/22/20