Archive for February, 2012

The NAP has recently released “Challenges and Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences”  here:


This text is from the report summary:

“The report is written for the members of the hydrologic community, mainly the research community, which includes not only academics but also scientists and engineers from the private sector, federal agencies (most notably the NSF Hydrologic Science program and other Earth Science programs within the foundation, when appropriate), decision makers interested in water research and policy, and those with Earth sciences and water resource related missions interested in where hydrologic science fits into the surface-earth sciences. The report is also written for graduate and undergraduate students seeking inspiration, general knowledge of what the field has to offer, or guidance when selecting a focus within the field. While the primary audience is the hydrologic community, the water related challenges and opportunities within the report are complex and broad. Thus, the report calls to other disciplines by articulating opportunities for important contribution in collaboration with hydrologic scientists and engineers.”

Back in 2009,  the NAP also released “Mapping the Zone” which had some good recommendations for improved floodplain mapping.


Both books are available for free if you are willing to read the pdf version online.


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Here’s another gorgeously shot video highlighting the two large dam removal projects on the Elwha and White Salmon Rivers.

Year of the River from Andy Maser on Vimeo.

The geomorphologist in me finds the time lapse from 6:41 to 6:48 and 7:35 to 7:38 in the video the most fascinating. Sediment transport on steroids.

I went to Andy Maser’s website and read about some of the technology he uses to make his films.  I find the quality and richness of the high end digital cameras he uses truly amazing.

HT: American Rivers blog

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I was a consultant in California for 8 years.  I saw my fair share of sediment reduction projects such as improved culvert crossings or streambank stabilizations.  California also had the California Conservation Corps which on several occasions had wood enhancement projects of one sort or another.  In the field, these projects were somewhat obvious once you saw all the heavy duty cables and bolts that were on the trees.  There were also several universities on the West Coast that had developed a fairly robust literature on various aspects of sediment and wood loading.  When I moved east, the scene was very different.  Neither were sediment budgets terribly common, nor were woody debris studies or projects.  It seems as though the east coast is slowly catching up as witnessed by this woody debris enhancement project on the Narraguagas River in Down East Maine.


It looks like a great project. Hopefully there will be some monitoring to see what happens to the introduced wood.  If a sizable flood comes along, some of those trees presumably will be carried downstream. If these trees are big enough to create a jam. where the jam gets formed and how big a jam they create are questions to be determined.  One very big difference between eastern and western wood introduction projects is that in Humboldt County, CA, the forests were dominated by evergreen Redwood trees which are quite large and decay fairly slowly. The annual trees on the Narraguagas are significantly smaller and I would suspect that they will decay much more rapidly

I like how the video shows the newly introduced wood and then pans downstream and shows the channel with essentially no wood in it. Out in California, this type of channel was referred to as a ‘bowling alley’ in that is was straight with little complexity.

For some more hydrologic and geomorphic background on the Narraguagas River, check out Professor Synder’s page at Boston College  that has links to some of his published research in this area.

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Last October, the National Fisheries Service has released a report titled “Science Base and Tools for Evaluating Stream Engineering, Management, and Restoration Proposals.”


The tools in the report include a project screening matrix, an information checklist and information on the River Restoration Analysis Tool (RiverRAT).  The screening tool and information checklist are straightforward.  Roughly seventy pages of the report cover fluvial geomorphology (yay!) and stream habitat. The fourth section of the document covers various aspect of a project as is progresses along.

The report also has four extensive appendices:

A) Investigative Analyses
B) Design of Stream Channel and Streambanks
C) Management Alternatives
D) Bibliography

For those familiar with the literature, much of the material will be review. Nevertheless, the overall document is a well organized compilation of available tools and the steps that should be taken as part of a restoration project.

HT: Peter Skidmore’s post in the LinkedIn group River Restoration Northwest

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This morning I became aware of a browser add-on made by Abine called Do Not Track.  Suffice it to say, it was rather eye opening.

I typically use Google Chrome as my browser about 80% of the time and Mozilla Firefox the other 20%.  Do Not Track can be installed on both browsers. I used Do Not Track at geomorphic.wordpress.com and was surprised to find out how many tracking cookies are put on my computer, and yours, when viewing the site.

In light of this, I will be taking down the Twitter and Google +1 links.  As for Quantcast, all I can suggest is that you either install something like Do Not Track, or you can manually delete any quantcast.com cookies.

I never consciously developed this site to track my readers, but ignorance isn’t much of an excuse.  In any event, I do apologies to my readers for having these sites track you.

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Here’s a nice 2 minute video from the USGS explaining its hydrologic unit code terminology:

The NHD viewer can be accessed here:

Because I have access to ERSI’s ArcGIS Desktop software, I’ve had good success working with the NHD personal geodatabase files that can be downloaded via ftp here:

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LRRD has put up a series of short videos that show sediment transport, open channel hydraulics, and river adjustment.


I’ve been reading LRRD’s blog for a while, but I wasn’t aware of this entire set of videos.  LRRD seems like a great firm and is doing the public a service by creating its teaching tools.  It seems like they do a great deal of work designing their scale models and traveling around with them and making some videos along the way. Thank you for all your efforts!

HT: David G. in the Geomorphology group on LinkedIn

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