Research on the physical characteristics of streams of all sizes is needed to develop models of channel form and behavior that can be used for management purposes to address bank erosion and sedimentation problems in the Ozarks. OEWRI focuses its physical river research efforts in three areas: channel morphology, long-term channel dynamics, and sediment contaminant dispersal. Channel morphology research involves the collection and evaluation of field measurements of the cross-section, longitudinal profile, and planform pattern to understand the present condition of the channel and floodplain and predict future changes. OEWRI uses a combination of quantitative and rapid assessment procedures that have been scientifically tested and developed for use in Ozarks streams. The geomorphic data collected is used to model channel form, determine causes of channel instability, and support channel restoration plans. Investigations of long-term channel dynamics involves the detection of changes in channel form, bank erosion, and floodplain sedimentation over periods of 10 to 1,000 years or more. Subsurface investigations and remote sensing methods are used in these studies to understand the response of watersheds and river systems to climate change and historical human disturbances. Finally, for pollution control purposes, it is important to understand processes affecting the spatial trends of sediment contamination in rivers. Sediment particles can bind metals and nutrients to high concentrations and often become important contributors to water quality problems. Thus, it is important to understand the role played by active channel and floodplain sediments during the storage, transformation, and remobilization of contaminants in Ozarks rivers. OEWRI is equipped with a truck-mounted Giddings coring rig, field surveying equipment, and sediment/soil sampling tools.
Stream Stability and Sedimentation