Supply of Large Woody Debris in a Stream Channel

by Timothy H. Diehl, U.S. Geological Survey, Nashville, United States,
Bradley A. Bryan, U.S. Geological Survey, Nashville, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


The amount of large woody debris that potentially could be transported to bridge sites was assessed in the basin of the West Harpeth River in Tennessee in the fall of 1992. The assessment was based on inspections of study sites at 12 bridges and examination of channel reaches between bridges. It involved estimating the amount of woody material at least 1.5 meters long, stored in the channel, and not rooted in soil. Study of multiple sites allowed estimation of the amount, characteristics, and sources of debris stored in the channel, and identification of geomorphic features of the channel associated with debris production. Woody debris is plentiful in the channel network, and much of the debris could be transported by a large flood. Tree trunks with attached root masses are the dominant large debris type. Death of these trees is primarily the result of bank erosion. Bank instability seems to be the basin characteristic most useful in identifying basins with a high potential for abundant production of debris.

Subject Headings: Stream channels | Bridge tests | Basins | Wood | Debris | Water pollution | Wood bridges | Site investigation | Tennessee | United States

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