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Post-project geomorphic assessment of a large process-based river restoration project

Erwin, Susannah O., Schmidt, John C., Allred, Tyler M.
Geomorphology 2016 v.270 pp. 145-158
data collection, ecological restoration, monitoring, remote sensing, rivers, sediments, stream flow, streams, topography, Utah
This study describes channel changes following completion of the Provo River Restoration Project (PRRP), the largest stream restoration project in Utah and one of the largest projects in the United States in which a gravel-bed river was fully reconstructed. We summarize project objectives and the design process, and we analyze monitoring data collected during the first 7years after project completion. Post-project channel adjustment during the study period included two phases: (i) an initial phase of rapid, but small-scale, adjustment during the first years after stream flow was introduced to the newly constructed channel and (ii) a subsequent period of more gradual topographic adjustment and channel migration. Analysis of aerial imagery and ground-survey data demonstrate that the channel has been more dynamic in the downstream 4km where a local source contributes a significant annual supply of bed material. Here, the channel migrates and exhibits channel adjustments that are more consistent with project objectives. The upstream 12km of the PRRP are sediment starved, the channel has been laterally stable, and this condition may not be consistent with large-scale project objectives.