Sediment Nourishments to Mitigate Channel Bed Incision in Engineered Rivers

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Engineering modifications of rivers, e.g., dams or groynes, often induce long-term riverbed erosion, which can be mitigated with sediment nourishments. Here, we consider nourishments to mitigate channel bed erosion induced by channel narrowing, as opposed to the more common application downstream of dams. Our objective is to assess and quantify how dumping location, grainsize, and volume are important for mitigation efficacy. Our results show that erosion can be mitigated if nourishments change the sediment flux such that the corresponding equilibrium channel slope is increased. This is achieved by coarsening the sediment flux throughout the reach, increasing magnitude of the sediment flux, or both. Flux is coarsened via additions of sediment at or coarser than the bed surface and nourished sediment should be distributed throughout the incising reach. The second option is nourishing a large volume of relatively fine sediment to increase the equilibrium channel slope. Additions of fine sediment in small volumes decrease the equilibrium channel slope and enhance erosion, because the fine sediment flux makes the gravel more mobile.