Low-Flow Habitat in Flood Control Channels

by J. Craig Fischenich, US Army Engineer Waterways, Experiment Station, Vicksburg, United States,
Steven R. Abt, US Army Engineer Waterways, Experiment Station, Vicksburg, United States,
Chester C. Watson, US Army Engineer Waterways, Experiment Station, Vicksburg, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering

Abstract: A critical phase in the life cycle of many riverine species in flood control channels is during low-flow periods when the quantity and quality of available habitat diminishes. However, engineers can incorporate features into channel modification projects that maintain, restore, or improve available low-flow habitat. Existing procedures and methods used to design these features are typically qualitative and often do not address their relation to or impact upon channel capacity. Several sites throughout the US which have incorporated low-flow modifications in flood channel systems are being investigated. Short- and long-term effects of integrating the low-flow structures into the flood channel are being identified, consolidated, and evaluated. A design procedure to provide target levels of habitat for compound channels is being developed. This paper presents the findings of literature reviews and field observations of sites that have exhibited improved riverine habitat with minimal impact on flow conveyance. Channel structures and methods which have the greatest potential for success are analyzed. A methodology for incremental assessment of low-flow riverine habitat and channel capacity is presented.

Subject Headings: Low flow | Floods | Hydraulic design | River flow | Channel flow | Site investigation | Hydraulic structures | Structural control

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