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Open AccessArticle

A New Framework to Model Hydraulic Bank Erosion Considering the Effects of Roots

1
School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences, Bern University of Applied Sciences, Laenggasse 85, 3052 Zollikofen, Switzerland
2
Department of Civil Engineering and Natural Hazards, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU), Peter-Jordan-Strasse 82, 1190 Vienna, Austria
3
School of Engineering, The University of Edinburgh, Mayfield Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JL, UK
4
Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, P.O. Box 69040, Lincoln 7640, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(3), 893; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030893 (registering DOI)
Received: 17 February 2020 / Revised: 18 March 2020 / Accepted: 19 March 2020 / Published: 22 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Water Quality and Ecosystems)
Floods and subsequent bank erosion are recurring hazards that pose threats to people and can cause damage to buildings and infrastructure. While numerous approaches exist on modeling bank erosion, very few consider the stabilizing effects of vegetation (i.e., roots) for hydraulic bank erosion at catchment scale. Taking root reinforcement into account enables the assessment of the efficiency of vegetation to decrease hydraulic bank erosion rates and thus improve risk management strategies along forested channels. A new framework (BankforNET) was developed to model hydraulic bank erosion that considers the mechanical effects of roots and randomness in the Shields entrainment parameter to calculate probabilistic scenario-based erosion events. The one-dimensional, probabilistic model uses the empirical excess shear stress equation where bank erodibility parameters are randomly updated from an empirical distribution based on data found in the literature. The mechanical effects of roots are implemented by considering the root area ratio (RAR) affecting the material dependent critical shear stress. The framework was validated for the Selwyn/Waikirikiri River catchment in New Zealand, the Thur River catchment and the Sulzigraben catchment, both in Switzerland. Modeled bank erosion deviates from the observed bank erosion between 7% and 19%. A sensitivity analysis based on data of vertically stable river reaches also suggests that the mechanical effects of roots can reduce hydraulic bank erosion up to 100% for channels with widths < 15.00 m, longitudinal slopes < 0.05 m m−1 and a RAR of 1% to 2%. The results show that hydraulic bank erosion can be significantly decreased by the presence of roots under certain conditions and its contribution can be quantified considering different conditions of channel geometry, forest structure and discharge scenarios. View Full-Text
Keywords: bank erosion; hydraulic bank erosion; modeling; effects of vegetation; root reinforcement bank erosion; hydraulic bank erosion; modeling; effects of vegetation; root reinforcement
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Gasser, E.; Perona, P.; Dorren, L.; Phillips, C.; Hübl, J.; Schwarz, M. A New Framework to Model Hydraulic Bank Erosion Considering the Effects of Roots. Water 2020, 12, 893.

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