Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2014MT291B

Student Fellowship: Conditions necessary to maintain chute-cutoff morphology in meandering gravel-bed rivers

Institute: Montana
Year Established: 2014 Start Date: 2014-03-01 End Date: 2015-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $2,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $880

Principal Investigators: April Sawyer

Abstract: Despite extensive field, computational, and flume research, the processes responsible for maintaining the meandering channel morphology with chute-cutoffs are not well understood, especially in gravel-bed rivers. This project will address three key knowledge gaps related to meandering processes in rivers where sinuosity is controlled by chute-cutoff events: (1) the processes responsible for chute channel occurrence, maintenance and capture related to the nature and quantity of suspended sediment in transport during a flood, (2) the need for a methodological comparison of predicted conditions necessary for self-‐maintenance of these features and (3) how bar formation rates keep pace with bank erosion rates to maintain a constant width. Findings will help managers to better understand the relationship between fine sediment and the ability of rivers to maintain meanders through periodic chute-cutoff events.