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Investigation of Large Woody Debris Jams and their Effects on Bed Changes
Mentor: Dr. Ian Knack
Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering

In this project, the effect that Large Woody Debris (LWD) has on fluvial systems will be investigated through flume studies in the Clarkson University Hydraulics Laboratory. LWD has been shown to have a net beneficial effect on riparian ecosystems by providing habitat for aquatic life, supplying nutrients to streams, and protecting the riverbanks. This is in sharp contrast to the views of many residents who live on or near rivers and streams where LWD can routinely accumulate and cause devastating flooding and damage to infrastructure. The damage to infrastructure is due to a combination of the loads imposed by the accumulations on the structures and local scouring. This project aims to quantify the impact of LWD accumulations on flooding and sediment transport near the accumulations. Experiments will be run in the 12 meter sediment-recirculating flume in the Hydraulics Lab to determine the properties of LWD accumulations and their effect on bed changes. These experimental results will be compared with numerical simulations to develop recommendations to help predict and reduce the impact of LWD accumulations.