Suspended Solids Transport within Regulated Rivers Experiencing Periodic Reservoir Releases

  • D. J. Gilvear


Few studies have examined variations in turbidity and suspended solids within impounded rivers during reservoir releases (Beschta et al. 1981; Eustis & Hillen 1954). Reservoir releases have, however, been shown to increase invertebrate drift (Brooker & Hemsworth 1978), entrain substratum bacteria (McDonald et al. 1982) and flush particulate matter from in-channel storages (Matter et al. 1983). Excess fine sediments and organic matter within stream channels can adversely affect the quality of salmonid spawning gravels and the habitats of insects and benthic organisms (Hall & Lantz 1979; Bjornn et al 1977). Reservoir releases have been used to remove channel-bed accumulations (Antonio 1969). Nevertheless, Wesche and Rechard (1980) state: “there is also a need for quantitative information about flushing flows. With the present’ state of the art’ it is unknown if flushing flows are necessary to remove fines and maintain stream quality. If flushing flows are necessary to remove fines and maintain stream quality, methods for determining the proper, magnitude, time duration, as well as the time of the year, should become a valuable part of instream flow recommendations”. Milhous (1982) provided a conceptual model of the processes operating, but could not acquire information on the optimum frequency for releases. If the time is too long, not only will excess accumulation occur within the channel but subsequent removal may lead to unacceptable suspended solids concentrations and turbidity values. High levels may limit photosynthesis, reduce macro-invertebrates and restrict fish populations (Alabaster 1972).


Suspended Solid Solid Concentration Suspended Solid Concentration Reservoir Release Peak Stage 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. J. Gilvear
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of TechnologyLoughborough, LeicestershireUK

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