2014 Research Catalyst Grantee



Suzanne Walter

Suzanne Walter

Utah Valley University


Project Title

Stream impoundment: comprehensive riverine effects on the Provo River, Utah



This proposal describes the initiation of a long term study on three aspects of stream adjustment after impoundment: the sediment dynamics, channel morphology and ecology of the Provo River, Utah. This study will focus on the river downstream of two impoundments, Deer Creek Reservoir and Jordanelle Reservoir. This particular study site provides a unique opportunity because the Jordanelle dam was put in place in 1992 and a large scale restoration project was completed in 2008, allowing for high resolution imagery and observations prior to dam placement and restoration. In addition, examining this system allows for a comprehensive, long term study that can elucidate the effects of impoundment on all aspects of a river system. To monitor these effects, we will establish cross section study sites along the Provo River and its tributaries where repeat surveys can be conducted over a ten year period. At each of these cross sections, we will establish baseline channel morphology characteristics via surveying and sediment size distribution via sediment collection and lab processing. We will also establish vegetation characteristics and inventories along the river to monitor changes in species composition over time. This data, combined with analysis of historical imagery and current high resolution imagery, will enable us to identify geomorphic changes over time and evaluate the impacts of those changes on the post- engineered river system as it applies to current and future watershed management. This data is particularly important as Utah faces climate change and population growth, both of which stress water availability, and has the potential to inform and improve watershed management practices to result in both a healthy fluvial system and a sustainable water resource.



Mark Holden, Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission
Adriana Martinez, Southern Illinois University
Paula Trator, Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission