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Open AccessArticle

The Impact of Shrubby Floodplain Vegetation Growth on the Discharge Capacity of River Valleys

1
Department of Hydraulic and Sanitary Engineering, Poznan University of Life Sciences, 60-637 Poznań, Poland
2
Institute of Construction and Geoengineering, Poznan University of Life Sciences, 60-637 Poznań, Poland
3
Institute of Land Improvement, Environmental Development and Geodesy, Poznan University of Life Sciences, 60-637 Poznań, Poland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2018, 10(5), 556; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10050556
Received: 2 February 2018 / Revised: 21 April 2018 / Accepted: 23 April 2018 / Published: 25 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Aquatic Systems—Quality and Contamination)
Willow bush growing in floodplains is a dominant form of vegetation in lowland river valleys due to the availability of water and light. Uncontrolled growth of this plant results in a lower capacity of floodplain areas. Vegetation can narrow the active width of water flow, as well as change water flow velocities at hydrometric verticals falling within the floodplain and the main channel. This paper analyses the impact of long-term growth of willow shrubs on flow resistance coefficient values. Both an increase in the average diameter and the density characterised by the average distance between branches have a significant impact on reducing the flow. The adopted research variants were based on data on the growth rate of the most popular species and forms of willow found in the floodplains of the Warta River above the Jeziorsko reservoir. Two research scenarios were analysed, including data from 12 years, on the development of floodplain vegetation. The first scenario included only the change in diameter (vegetation grew on a cultivation plot), whereas the density remained constant. The second scenario investigated the inverse model—vegetation growing in an uncontrolled manner. The analysis of the tests proved the impact of various bush development scenarios on flow conditions. The results, referred to in the available research papers, indicated the importance of the dynamics of shrub development to the local flow conditions. It was stated that reduction in the flow, depending on the analysed scenario, could reach 45% for scenarios in which the only considered factor was the increase in diameter (at a constant density), and up to 70% in the case of increase in the density of vegetation. Thorough knowledge of this phenomenon may help manage and maintain natural river valleys. View Full-Text
Keywords: shrubby vegetation; floodplain; flow rate; river valleys shrubby vegetation; floodplain; flow rate; river valleys
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Walczak, N.; Walczak, Z.; Kałuża, T.; Hämmerling, M.; Stachowski, P. The Impact of Shrubby Floodplain Vegetation Growth on the Discharge Capacity of River Valleys. Water 2018, 10, 556.

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