Modeling Transport of Flushed Reservoir Sediment
Drawdown flushing of a reservoir is often part of a reservoir sediment management program. Flushing can deliver higher than normal sediment loads to the river channel located downstream of a reservoir. The flushed sediment may contain a higher proportion of finer sediment than what was delivered to a channel prior to the presence of the reservoir. The extent of long-term impacts caused by the flushed sediment on the channel morphology and habitat will in part depend on the residence time of the sediment within the channel. In this study we used MIKE 21C to model the fate of flushed sediment through a river channel where the bed material consists of an armoring layer of gravels overlying finer sediment. MIKE 21C is a two-dimensional curvilinear morphological model for rivers developed by DHI. Curvilinear means that the model grid may curve to better follow the channel and flow direction, for example in a meandering channel. Multiple bed material layers are included in the model to represent the armoring and underlying layers existing in the bed separately from the overlying flushed sediment. These layers may also mix. The nature of the interactions between these two layers helps regulate transport and deposition of the flushed sediment, thus are critical to assessing the fate of the flushed sediment and associated potential impacts.