The regime of sediment transport in the Jingjiang Reach has significantly changed from quasi-equilibrium to sub-saturation since the impoundment of the Three Gorges Dam (TGD), and vertical profiles of suspended sediment concentration (SSC) have changed accordingly. Vertical profiles of SSC data measured at three hydrological stations in the Jingjiang Reach (Zhicheng, Shaishi, and Jianli), before and after the impoundment of TGD, were collected and analyzed. Analytic results indicate a remarkably large concentration in the near-bed zone (within 10% of water depth from the river-bed) in a sub-saturated channel. The maximum measured concentration was up to 15 times the vertical average concentration, while the ratio in quasi-equilibrium channel was less than four times that. Concentrations normalized with reference concentration at the same height, and may decrease with increasing values of suspension index (settling velocity over shear velocity). In addition, concentration near the water surface may be larger than concentration in the near-bed region when the suspension index is smaller than 0.01. Sediment flux transported in the near-bed zone may be up to 35% of the total sediment flux in unsaturated flows. The relationship between deviations of estimating sediment flux when ignoring the near-bed concentration and discharge in flood season and non-flood season are different in unsaturated and quasi-equilibrium channels. Analysis indicates that, in the quasi-equilibrium channel, more attention should be paid to near-bed concentration during non-flood season, the same as measurements during flood season with larger discharge.
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