Elena Battisacco, Lena Bösch, Mário Jorge Rodrigues Pereira Da Franca, Anton Schleiss
Dams interrupt the longitudinal connectivity of a river as they store water and trap sediment. When transport capacity downstream of dams exceeds sediment supply, water becomes hungry and channel incision, bed armouring and reduction of morphological diversity are the consequences. Sediment replenishment is an increasingly common measure to restore the sediment regime of such disturbed river reaches. In the present study the influence on channel bed morphology of different geometrical configuration of replenishments and of consecutive gravel augmentation is assessed by means of systematically laboratory experiments. The typical features of a straight armoured alpine gravel channel are reproduced on the model in terms of slope, cross section and bed grain size. The total amount of replenished sediment is deposited in four identical volumes following two different geometrical configurations (parallel and alternating). The reaction of the channel bed is analysed on image and laser data. Persistency of the first replenishment is high and it covers a large portion of the channel bed, which consequently decreases channel bed roughness remarkably. The persistency of the second replenishment is low and the effect on the depositional pattern established after the first replenishment only minor. This is explained by the smoothing of the channel bed during the first replenishment, resulting in higher transport capacities. For the alternating configuration an increase in the deposition heights in the very downstream channel reach can be observed due to the second replenishment. Thus it is assumed that consecutive replenishment can increase the impact length of restoration projects. The parallel configuration results in very spread depositions, while for the alternating configuration a clear bed form pattern could be observed with a wavelength of depositions corresponding to the length of the replenished volumes. These depositions are understood as mounds, forming the initial condition of alternating bars. Thus in order to enhance channel bed topography of an armoured layer downstream a dam, sediment replenishment added by the alternating configuration is most favourable and effective.