Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
THE EFFECTS OF DAMS ON DOWNSTREAM CHANNEL CHARACTERISTICS IN PENNSYLVANIA AND MARYLAND: ASSESSING THE POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES OF DAM REMOVAL
The potential downstream effects of dam removal were assessed on fifteen sites of varying dam size and characteristics in Pennsylvania and Maryland. The dams ranged in size from a 30 cm high fish weir to a water supply dam 57 m high. Stream order ranged from 1 to 4. The dams are located in watersheds with varying degrees of human disturbance and urbanization. The dams are also operated differently, with significant consequences for hydraulic residence time and downstream flow variability. Most streams were alluvial, but 6 of the reaches were clearly bedrock channels. We hypothesize that the channel upstream, which is unaffected by the dam, will provide an accurate model for the channel downstream of the dam long after dam removal. Therefore, reaches upstream and downstream of the dam were compared to determine the effects of the dam as well as the condition of the stream that will ultimately develop decades after dam removal. Surprisingly, the dams had no consistent influence on channel morphology. However, the percentage of sand is significantly lower downstream than upstream: the mean % sand downstream is 11.47%, while the mean % sand upstream is 21.39%. The coarser fractions of the bed, as represented by the 84th percentile grain diameter, are unaffected by the presence of the dam. These results imply that decades after dam removal, the percentage of sand on the bed will increase, but the coarse fraction of the bed will remain relatively unchanged.