RIVERBED DIGITAL ELEVATION MODELS AS A TOOL FOR HOLISTIC RIVER MANAGEMENT: MOTUEKA RIVER, NELSON, NEW ZEALAND
Article first published online: 24 JAN 2012
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
River Research and Applications
How to Cite
FULLER, I. C. and BASHER, L. R. (2012), RIVERBED DIGITAL ELEVATION MODELS AS A TOOL FOR HOLISTIC RIVER MANAGEMENT: MOTUEKA RIVER, NELSON, NEW ZEALAND. River Res. Applic.. doi: 10.1002/rra.2555
- Article first published online: 24 JAN 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 6 DEC 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 9 NOV 2011
- Manuscript Received: 14 JUL 2011
- morphological budgeting;
- sediment transfer;
- channel degradation;
- gravel-bed river
River management in New Zealand's laterally active gravelly rivers has permitted floodplain development and protection of agricultural resources and infrastructure. Management of these dynamic systems has been hailed as a success for the approaches adopted, namely straightening and confining the river using bank protection and managing riverbed levels by gravel extraction. However, this activity also impacts river morphological/habitat diversity and potential gravel resource, by replacing broad riparian corridors with narrower channels and reducing lateral connectivity with the floodplain. This paper quantifies river behaviour in three laterally confined reaches in the upper Motueka River over a 7-year period, using annual high-resolution ground surveys to address the nature of morphological change and associated sediment flux in these reaches with a view to informing management of the gravel resource. Surveys between 2004 and 2010 acquired data to construct digital elevation models (DEMs) of the active riverbed in three ~1-km-long reaches. Morphological budgeting based on differencing between successive DEM surfaces reveals complex spatial and temporal patterns of erosion and deposition, demonstrating complex reach dynamics. Overall, volumetric changes suggest these narrowed reaches have been net exporters of sediment, associated with continued channel degradation. This has left bar features, traditionally the focus of gravel extraction in the reaches, relatively isolated from all but extreme flows, limiting replenishment of the gravel resource. The paper demonstrates the utility of riverbed DEMs as a potential tool to frame river character and behaviour at the reach scale in gravel-bed rivers, thereby providing an important contribution to holistic river management in these systems. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.