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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-424
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-424
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 30 Sep 2019

Submitted as: research article | 30 Sep 2019

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Assessment of geomorphic effectiveness of controlled floods in a braided river using a reduced-complexity numerical model

Luca Ziliani1, Nicola Surian1, Gianluca Botter2, and Luca Mao3 Luca Ziliani et al.
  • 1Department of Geosciences, University of Padova, Italy
  • 2Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of Padova, Italy
  • 3School of Geography, University of Lincoln, United Kingdom

Abstract. Most Alpine rivers have undergone strong alteration of flow and sediment regimes. These alterations have notable effects on river morphology and ecology. One option to mitigate such effects is the flow regime management, specifically by the re-introduction of channel-forming discharges. The aim of this work is to assess the morphological changes induced in the Piave River (Italy) due to two different controlled flood strategies, the first characterized by a single artificial flood per year and the second by higher magnitude, but less frequent, floods. The work was carried out applying a 2D reduced-complexity morphodynamic model (CAESAR-LISFLOOD) to a 7 km-long reach, characterized by a braided pattern and highly regulated discharges. The numerical modelling allowed the assessment of morphological changes for four long-term scenarios (2009–2034). The scenarios were defined taking into account the current flow regime and the natural regime, which was estimated by a stochastic physically-based hydrologic model. Changes in channel morphology were assessed by measuring active channel width and braiding intensity. Comparing controlled flood scenarios to a baseline scenario (i.e., no controlled floods) it turned out that artificial floods had small effects on channel morphology. The highest channel widening (13.5 %) was produced by the release strategy with higher magnitude floods, while the other strategies produced lower widening (8.6 %). Negligible change was observed in terms of braiding intensity. Results pointed out that controlled floods may not represent an effective solution for morphological recovery in braided rivers strongly impacted in their flow and sediment regimes.

Luca Ziliani et al.

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Luca Ziliani et al.

Luca Ziliani et al.

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Short summary
Although geomorphic recovery is a key issue in many rivers worldwide, controlled floods have been rarely designed using geomorphological criteria. An integrated approach is used to assess the effects of different controlled flood scenarios in a strongly regulated river. None of the controlled flood strategies provide significant morphological benefits. Nevertheless, this study represents a significant contribution for management and restoration of highly disturbed rivers.
Although geomorphic recovery is a key issue in many rivers worldwide, controlled floods have...
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