The interplay between flow field, suspended sediment concentration, and net deposition in a channel with flexible bank vegetation

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This paper investigates the interplay between the flow, suspended sediment concentration (SSC), and net deposition at the lateral interface between a main channel and riverbank/floodplain vegetation consisting of emergent flexible woody plants with understory grasses. In a new set of flume experiments, data were collected concurrently on the flow field, SSC, and net deposition using acoustic Doppler velocimeters, optical turbidity sensors, and weight-based sampling. Vegetation largely affected the vertical SSC distributions, both within and near the vegetated areas. The seasonal variation of vegetation properties was important, as the foliage strongly increased lateral mixing of suspended sediments between the unvegetated and vegetated parts of the channel. Foliage increased the reach-scale net deposition and enhanced deposition in the understory grasses at the main channel–vegetation interface. To estimate the seasonal differences caused by foliation, we introduced a new drag ratio approach for describing the SSC difference between the vegetated and unvegetated channel parts. Findings in this study suggest that future research and engineering applications will benefit from a more realistic description of natural plant features, including the reconfiguration of plants and drag by the foliage, to complement and replace existing rigid cylinder approaches.


Original languageEnglish
Article number2250
Number of pages24
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Flexible vegetation, Net deposition, Riparian vegetation, Sediment transport, Suspended sediment, Turbulent mixing layer

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