GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 94-5
Presentation Time: 9:10 AM


SINGER, Jill1, MANLEY, T.O.2, MANLEY, Patricia2, BAJO, Jorge1, FRANKS, Brandon1, FULLER, Lana2, KRAFT, Matthew3, LUTHER, Brandon1, MILLER, Nicholas1, MONNINGER, Steven2, PFENDER, Katherine1, RUHL, Steven2, ST. GERMAIN, Clara2 and TORSEY, Allison1, (1)Earth Sciences, SUNY-Buffalo State, 1300 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14222, (2)Geology Department, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT 05753, (3)Geology Department, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405,

The Buffalo River, an urbanized watershed located in Buffalo, NY, discharges into the east end of Lake Erie. The Buffalo River, including the riparian zone, has been degraded due to industrial activities and loss of habitat. Over the past ~25 years, research and various projects have been undertaken to support the environmental restoration of the river. Attention to the river has increased in recent years with momentum tied to redevelopment and new recreational opportunities. The Buffalo River has some interesting flow dynamics related to Lake Erie's orientation in the same direction as the prevailing WSW winds. Persistent winds blowing across Lake Erie can pile water up at the eastern (Buffalo) end of the lake causing large elevation changes creating surges in the Buffalo River. This presentation shares our collaborative efforts to document and understand how the Buffalo River has been transformed over the past several decades and how we gather and use data from a combination of instruments and methods including: sediment texture, side scan sonar, bathymetry, Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers, temperature sensors, water level recorders, and geospatial data. Studying an urban river over an extended period of time allows us to document physical processes occurring over a range of conditions and before and soon after a large-scale environmental dredging project. Some of our studies focus on the temporal changes in the number and location of sedimentary furrows and the behavior of an ~1.75 hour oscillation that raises and lowers the river's elevation as the flow reverses direction. While the physical conditions and environmental history we investigate are unique to the Buffalo River, the approach taken and findings yielded to date provide a useful case study of temporal changes in a river undergoing environmental restoration and can inform river management in other communities.