After the flood of December 1964, 12 gaging sections in northern California widened as much as 100% and aggraded as much as 4 m, and then degraded to stable levels during a period of 5 years or more. As channels aggraded, bed material became finer, and low to moderate flow through gaging sections in pools became shallower, faster, and steeper. Comparisons of longitudinal profiles also show the diminishment of pools as well as a decrease in bar relief accompanying the excessive sediment load. As gaging sections degraded, hydraulic geometries recovered to a limited degree; full recovery probably depends on channel narrowing and further depletion of sediment supply. The hydraulic changes with aggradation indicate an increase in the effectiveness of moderate discharges (less than 1‐ to 2‐year recurrence interval, annual flood series) to transport bed load and shape the bed. Bars become smaller, pools preferentially fill, and riffles armored with relatively small gravel tend to erode headward during falling stages and form a gentler gradient. Excess sediment can thus be more readily transported out of channels when additional contributions from watersheds are usuall slight.
Water Resources Research – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 1982
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