Flow and Habitat Dynamics Associated With Entrenched Channels

EPA Grant Number: FP916420
Title: Flow and Habitat Dynamics Associated With Entrenched Channels
Investigators: Luebke, Michelle A.
Institution: University of Georgia
EPA Project Officer: Michaud, Jayne
Project Period: January 1, 2004 through December 31, 2006
Project Amount: $111,172
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Geography , Academic Fellowships , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration


For restoration activities to be successful, managers need a good understanding of the dynamics inherent in a particular system. Entrenchment is a morphological condition that results from disequilibrium in aquatic systems due to the disconnection of a channel and its adjacent floodplain. In the southeastern Piedmont, this is most typically due to land use practices that eroded historic sediment from the hillslopes and caused the channels to aggrade. As the streams incised through deposited sediment, they became entrenched. These types of streams, although prevalent throughout the Southeast and the focus of widespread restoration efforts, have not been quantitatively studied. The objective of this research project is to study the dynamics of entrenched stream reaches and how they respond during baseflow and flood conditions in relation to channel morphology, streambed composition, and sediment transport.


A significant difference between entrenched and nonentrenched reaches is anticipated for width/depth, velocity, sediment particle size, and habitat characteristics. Modeling with HEC-RAS is proposed to show significant differences in the magnitude of entrenchment, overbank recurrence interval, bed shear stress, flow velocities, stream power, and tractive force between reach types. Findings from this study may affect how entrenched reaches are restored in the future.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, entrenchment, entrenched reaches, entrenched channels, flow, habitat dynamics, erosion, floodplain, deposited sediments, Southeastern Piedmont, sediment transport, streambed composition, bed shear stress, stream power,, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Geography, Habitat, Ecology and Ecosystems, aquatic ecosystem, habitat dynamics, flooded soils, entrenched channel morphology, sediment transport, habitat disturbance, stream ecosystem

Relevant Websites:

2004 STAR Graduate Fellowship Conference Poster (PDF, 1p., 441KB, about PDF)

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2004
  • 2005
  • Final