Geomorphic Effects of Engineered Log Jams in River Restoration, Middle Fork John Day River

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Jenna Duffin and Patricia F McDowell, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, United States
The Middle Fork of the John Day River (MFJD) Intensively Monitored Watershed in eastern Oregon is a multi-phase restoration implementation and monitoring project. MFJD is a tributary to the Colombia and is part of one of the longest free flowing rivers systems in the continental United States. It is a gravel and cobble bed river with a drainage area of 2,100 km2. The river has endured extensive channel and floodplain degradation from years of channel alteration and straightening due to human influences including dredge mining, ranching, and farming. As part of the river restoration project on the MFJD, engineered log jams have been constructed to address many of the restoration goals including creating scour pools, inhibiting bank erosion, creating and maintaining a sinuous river planform, and increasing complexity of fish habitat. There is a need for more detailed understanding on ELJ channel morphologic effects and how site-specific characteristics and differences in log jam infrastructure interact to create the in-channel features over timescales longer than a few years. This study uses detailed channel bed topographic surveys collected either with a total station or RTK-GPS technology. Geomorphic change detection techniques are utilized to monitor topographic change under and around the 26 log structures in two different river reaches over a six to seven year period The log structures are often associated with deepening of pools as desired, but also some structures show sedimentation under the structure. Differences in the patterns will be assessed based on the design, location, and specific characteristics of the log structures; variables include number and placement of logs, volume of structure, location on meander bend, and sediment sizes.