MAST-1D, a Model to Route Sediment and Tracers in Channel-Floodplain Complexes

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 4:00 PM
Enrica Viparelli, university of South Carolina, columbia, SC, United States, John Wesley Lauer, Seattle University, Seattle, WA, United States and Patrick Belmont, Utah State University, Department of Watershed Sciences, Logan, UT, United States
Sediment exchange between the channel and floodplain can occur via meander migration, overbank deposition or erosion, and channel widening or narrowing. Depending on channel and floodplain history, floodplains can act either as sources or sinks of bed material and/or wash load. The Morphodynamics And Sediment Tracers in 1D program (MAST-1D) is a numerical model built to describe grain size specific transport of sediment and tracers and the long-term - i.e. decadal and longer - evolution of channel floodplain complexes. MAST-1D differs from other 1D numerical models because it allows for 1) uneven exchange of sediment and tracers between the river channel and the floodplain, 2) temporal changes in channel geometry, bed elevation and floodplain thickness, which result in changes in the channel hydraulic capacity, and 3) temporal changes of size distribution and tracer content in the floodplain, in the load and in the underlying substrate. Under conditions of constant base level, water and sediment supply, the main assumptions in the model result in the system evolving asymptotically toward a steady state wherein channel bed erosion is balanced by channel bed deposition. When at this condition, the amount of sediment deposited on the floodplain through point bar deposition and overbank sedimentation is balanced by the erosion of sediment from the floodplain through lateral migration. However, imbalances in floodplain storage can persist for many years even when the channel bed elevation and size distribution are near steady state. The MAST-1D program is applied to study the long term response of a sand bed river, an 80 km long reach of the Minnesota River between Mankato and Jordan, Minnesota, to changes in flow regime and the sediment load due to the development of intensive agriculture in the watershed. The simulations are performed in successive phases, the model is first set up so that under the best estimates available for pre-agriculture conditions, channel floodplain exchange is even. Changes in flow regime, sediment load, and grain size of sediment load are then applied to represent agricultural development of the basin. The model is first validated against field data. It is then applied to investigate how the channel-floodplain response changes for different grain size distributions of the sediment load.