Sediment transport is a key evolution process of rivers and water basins. This process can pose flood hazards to nearby areas. The Eulerian and Lagrangian methods are usually employed to describe sediment transport in mountain rivers. The application of different methods was proposed by scientists to analyze specific aspects of solid transport, however a complete understanding still alludes us. After a brief review of the most common methods, the coupling of three different methods is proposed and tested in order to study sediment dynamics, and its spatial and temporal variability, in mountain rivers. Tracers, painted bed patches, and digital elevation model (DEM) comparisons are used to characterize sediment transport at both a micro-scale short-term and a macro-scale long-term level on a test reach on Caldone River, Italy. Information about travel distance, critical diameters, active width, and morphological evolution was sought. We focused on how water discharge is changing the relationships between different measurement techniques. High discharge events force the channel to behave in a unique way, while low discharge events generate more intrinsic variability. Only measurement technique coupling can overcome this issue. Results are encouraging and show the potential of a mixed Eulerian-Lagrangian approach.
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