Monitoring and Managing River Corridors in the Midst of Growing Water Demand
Keys, Tyler Adam
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Rivers and their surrounding riparian and subsurface ecosystems, known as river corridors, are important landscape features that provide a myriad of ecological and societal benefits. While the importance of riverine flooding has been widely acknowledged and extensively studied, very little research has been conducted on the interactions between river channels and their adjacent floodplains. The importance of this hydrologic connectivity between rivers and floodplains has been emphasized in recent decades and now ecological engineering techniques such as stream restoration are often utilized to restore connectivity between streams and their riparian ecosystems. Despite its ubiquity in practice, there are still many basic components of river-floodplain connectivity that are not well understood. Furthermore, a lack of cost-effective monitoring techniques makes sustainable management of river corridors quite challenging. Thus, the overall goals of my dissertation were: 1) develop user-friendly river corridor monitoring techniques utilizing cost-effective approaches such as time-lapse digital imagery and satellite remote sensing and 2) identify the effects of anthropogenic activities on river corridor hydrologic and biogeochemical processes that occur at varying spatial and temporal scales during flood events. These goals were addressed through five independent studies that span spatiotemporal scales. The five studies utilized a combination of novel remote sensing, hydrologic/hydraulic modeling, and high frequency spatial sampling techniques to analyze river corridor dynamics. Results highlight that digital imagery and satellite remote sensing can be effective tools for monitoring river corridors in data scare regions. Additionally, impounding streams and river corridors alters floodplain connectivity and biogeochemical processing of reactive solutes such as nitrogen and phosphorus. Findings from this work highlight the important role that spatial and temporal scale plays in river corridor dynamics. Overall, this research provides new analytical techniques and findings that can be used to effectively monitor and manage river corridors.
- Doctoral Dissertations