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Keywords:

  • sediment pulse;
  • dam removal;
  • channel recovery;
  • Taiwan;
  • Barlin Dam;
  • sediment transport regime

ABSTRACT

The rates and styles of channel adjustments following an abrupt and voluminous sediment pulse are investigated in the context of site and valley characteristics and time-varying sediment transport regimes. Approximately 10.5 x 106 m3 of stored gravel and sand was exposed when Barlin Dam failed during Typhoon WeiPa in 2007. The dam was located on the Dahan River, Taiwan, a system characterized by steep river gradients, typhoon- and monsoon-driven hydrology, high, episodic sediment supply, and highly variable hydraulic conditions. Topography, bulk sediment samples, aerial photos, and simulated hydraulic conditions are analyzed to investigate temporal and spatial patterns in morphology and likely sediment transport regimes. Results document the rapid response of the reservoir and downstream channel, which occurred primarily through incision and adjustment of channel gradient. Hydraulic simulations illustrate how the dominant sediment transport regime likely varies between study periods with sediment yield and caliber and with the frequency and duration of high flows. Collectively, results indicate that information on variability in sediment transport regime, valley configuration, and distance from the dam is needed to explain the rate and pattern of morphological changes across study periods. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.