Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

A Peculiar River: Geology, Geomorphology, and Hydrology of the Deschutes River, Oregon



Eos:Why write a book about this particular river?

Grant: We really didn't know how unusual the Deschutes was when we set out to study it. Its peculiarities emerged in the course of our investigations, which were initially directed at understanding how several large hydropower dams that were being relicensed might have affected the structure of the downstream channel. From studies on other rivers, we expected that we would find clear signals of physical changes to channel morphology, such as channel incision or a textural coarsening of the riverbed, which we could attribute to the dams. But what we found during the course of our studies was that the Deschutes was not like other rivers and that the classic, expected responses were not in evidence. We learned that our own preconceptions of how rivers work—how they respond to disturbances such as dams—needed rethinking.