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Title: Techniques for studying the physical effects of commercial navigation traffic on aquatic habitats
Authors: Bhowmik, Nani G.
Miller, Andrew C.
Payne, Barry S.
Keywords: Inland navigation--Environmental aspects
Stream animals--Effect of habitat modification on
Fishes--Effect of sediment on
Publisher: Environmental Laboratory (U.S.)
U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station.
Series/Report no.: Technical Report;EL-90-10
Abstract: The physical effects of commercial navigation traffic that can be studied in the field include: (a.) resuspension and lateral transport of sediment; (b.) sedimentation rates at specific habitats; (c.) scour and disruption of substrates caused by tow passage; (d.) altered velocity regimen including increased turbulence and reversal of flows; (e.) pressure fluctuations, shear force, wave heights, wave wash, and drawdown; (f.) changes in water quality parameters; and (g.) wave generation. Studies on the physical effects of commercial traffic should be designed to obtain background data and physical effects data as a vessel passes. Background data collection should include ambient velocity and sediment concentration at the site for low, medium, and high flow conditions; hydraulic, hydrologic, and morphometric characteristics of the site; historical characteristics of the site including sedimentation patterns; wind and wave characteristics; bed and bank material characteristics; basic water quality parameters and other site-specific characteristics such as presence or absence of side channels, backwaters, or tributaries. Historical data on any of these parameters should also be obtained. Information collected as a vessel passes should include: (a.) detailed velocity data at a sufficient number of locations to determine the areal distribution of the altered velocity regimen; (b.) suspended sediment samples at a sufficient number of locations to determine sediment concentration and particle size distribution; (c.) pressure fluctuations; (d.) waves and drawdown; (e.) changes in water quality parameters; (f.) pulse input of water and sediment into sensitive side channels and backwaters; (g.) bank erosion rates; and (h.) a detailed quantification of the traffic including various vessel characteristics. Data analyses should include basic graphical and regression analyses supplemented with standard statistical analyses. Analyses should be designed to determine and separate effects of navigation traffic from the normal seasonal variations. This report briefly describes basic hydraulic and sediment transport characteristics of open channels. In addition, various equipment and techniques to measure physical forces are described. Information and procedures in this report can be used by biological or physical scientists in the planning and execution of a physical effects study.
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