Special Issue "Fluvial Geomorphology and River Management"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Hydrology and Hydrogeology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Salvatore Ivo Giano
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Sciences, University of Basilicata, via Ateneo Lucano, 10, 85100-Potenza, Italy
Interests: geomorphology; fluvial geomorphology; tectonic geomorphology; geological heritage; engineering geology
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the last few years, fluvial dynamics has suffered modification around the world due to recent strong climate changes. In addition, human pressure on fluvial systems and related modifications of the fluvial landscape and its dynamics have led to an increase in river management relevance. In this framework, a new perspective in approaching the study of fluvial environments, merging more than one expertise, is required.

The objective of this Special Issue is to provide the reader with the recent advances in fluvial geomorphology and river managements studies. Research papers related to the response of fluvial landform induced by physical processes, in long- to short-term evolution, are expected. Particularly, articles on relationships among climate change, tectonic activity, and base-level variations in fluvial landscape geomorphological evolution will be welcome.

In the last century, the fluvial system has undergone an increase of human activities that led to a modification of its geomorphological, hydrological, and biological factors., The high loss of life and infrastructures due to high-magnitude events in the fluvial environment makes detailed studies on river restoration and management particularly suitable. Contributions dealing with the fluvial response estimation in river management will be preferred for publication; papers related to fluvial contexts before/during/after a high magnitude event are also welcome.

The Special issue will collect contributiong coming from different fluvial landscapes around the world, thus allowing scientists to compare fluvial landscape behaviors in different geographical contexts.

Prof. Dr. Salvatore Ivo Giano
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • fluvial geomorphology
  • form and processes of river systems
  • fluvial landscape evolution
  • hydrology of fluvial catchment
  • human impacts on fluvial environment
  • river management and restoration
  • natural vs. human-induced fluvial landforms

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Quaternary Evolution of the Lower Calore and Middle Volturno Valleys (Southern Italy)
Water 2021, 13(5), 741; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050741 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 536
Abstract
The lower Calore and middle Volturno valleys preserve stratigraphical and morphological evidence and tephrostratigraphic markers particularly suitable for reconstructing the long-term geomorphological evolution of the central-southern Apennines. Aim of our study is to identify the main steps of the Quaternary landscape evolution of [...] Read more.
The lower Calore and middle Volturno valleys preserve stratigraphical and morphological evidence and tephrostratigraphic markers particularly suitable for reconstructing the long-term geomorphological evolution of the central-southern Apennines. Aim of our study is to identify the main steps of the Quaternary landscape evolution of these valley systems and to improve knowledge about the relationships between fluvial processes and tectonics, volcanic activity, climatic and human influences. To this purpose, we carried out an integrated geomorphological and chrono-stratigraphical analysis of identified fluvial landforms and related deposits, integrated by 230Th/234U datings on travertines from the Telese Plain area. The study highlighted in particular: (1) fluvial sedimentation started in the Middle Pleistocene (~650 ka) within valleys that originated in the lower Pleistocene under the control of high-angle faults; (2) extensional tectonics acted during the Middle and Upper Pleistocene, driving the formation of the oldest fluvial terraces and alluvial fans, and persisted beyond the emplacement of the Campanian Ignimbrite pyroclastic deposits (~39 ka); and (3) from the late Upper Pleistocene onwards (<15 ka), the role of tectonics appears negligible, while climatic changes played a key role in the formation of three orders of valley floor terraces and the youngest alluvial fans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluvial Geomorphology and River Management)
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Open AccessCommunication
Rivers Try Harder. Reversed “Differential Erosion” as Geological Control of Flood in the Large Fluvial Systems in Poland
Water 2021, 13(4), 424; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13040424 - 05 Feb 2021
Viewed by 851
Abstract
We study cross-sections on the Detailed Geological Map of Poland (SMGP) to find a geologic and geomorphic pattern under river valleys in Poland. The pattern was found in 20 reaches of the largest Polish rivers (Odra, Warta, Vistula, Narew, and Bug) located in [...] Read more.
We study cross-sections on the Detailed Geological Map of Poland (SMGP) to find a geologic and geomorphic pattern under river valleys in Poland. The pattern was found in 20 reaches of the largest Polish rivers (Odra, Warta, Vistula, Narew, and Bug) located in the European Lowland, in the landscape of old (Pleistocene, Saalian) glacial high plains extending between the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) moraines on the North and the Upland on the South. The Upland was slightly folded and up-faulted during Alpine orogeny together with the thrust of Carpathian nappes and the uplift of Tatra Mts. and Sudetes. The found pattern is an alluvial river with broad Holocene floodplain and the channel developed atop the protrusion of bedrock (Jurassic, Cretaceous limestones, marlstones, sandstones) or non-alluvial, cohesive, overconsolidated sediments resistant to erosion (glacial tills, lacustrine or “ice-dammed lake” clays) of Cenozoic (Paleogene, Neogene, Quaternary—Elsterian). We regard the sub-alluvial protrusion as the limit of river incision and scour. It cannot be determined why the river flows atop these protrusions, in opposition to “differential erosion”, a geomorphology principle. We assume it is evidence of geological flood control. We propose an environmental and geomorphological framework for the hydrotechnical design of instream river training. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluvial Geomorphology and River Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Use of Remote Sensing Tools to Measure a Fluvial Geomorphic Design-Input Parameter for Land Reclamation
Water 2020, 12(9), 2378; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12092378 - 25 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 547
Abstract
Fluvial geomorphic approaches for reclamation landform design have been applied since 2000, mostly in mined lands, as an alternative to conventional landform design methods. Those approaches aim to reconstruct mature landforms and drainage networks that would develop within a natural catchment, after thousands [...] Read more.
Fluvial geomorphic approaches for reclamation landform design have been applied since 2000, mostly in mined lands, as an alternative to conventional landform design methods. Those approaches aim to reconstruct mature landforms and drainage networks that would develop within a natural catchment, after thousands of years of work performed by geomorphic processes. Some fluvial geomorphic design methods take specific measurements from natural and stable reference areas for initial input values for reclamation design. Valid reference areas can be difficult to find, can be in highly anthropized environments, or may be difficult to access. This paper evaluates the use of remote sensing tools to measure morphometric parameters in upper sections of agricultural land catchments considered for use as reference areas. The ridge to head of channel distance (Xrh) was the parameter of interest. We used land surface profiles developed from LiDAR (Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging) data and planimetric measurements from orthoimages to estimate Xrh. The results obtained by the two methods were encouraging but showed a significant difference. Ground truthing showed that ploughing obliterated between 19.5 and 22.4 m (on average) of the headwater section of first-order channels, reducing the channel length by 15.1 to 32.4%. Using a greater Xrh value than appropriate for near steady-state conditions as a design input for a geomorphic reclamation project would be expected to result in active erosion processes in the constructed reclamation to regain their missing channel length. We recognize the advantages and limitations of remote sensing methods for measuring the morphometric parameters of the landform relief design inputs. We show how these tools may be used to help select and prioritize reference areas, and warn about the use of disturbed landscapes as reference areas to assure the geomorphic stability of the constructed reclamation designs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluvial Geomorphology and River Management)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Impact of Hydropower Dam Operation and Management on Downstream Hydrogeomorphology in Semi-Arid Environments (Tekeze, Northern Ethiopia)
Water 2020, 12(8), 2237; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12082237 - 08 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1034
Abstract
Due to renewed interest in hydropower dams in the face of climate change, it is important to assess dam operations and management in combination with downstream impacts on rivers in (semi-)arid environments. In this study, the impacts of the Tekeze hydropower dam on [...] Read more.
Due to renewed interest in hydropower dams in the face of climate change, it is important to assess dam operations and management in combination with downstream impacts on rivers in (semi-)arid environments. In this study, the impacts of the Tekeze hydropower dam on downstream hydrology and river morphology were investigated, including impacts under normal and extreme reservoir operation conditions. Field observations, in-depth interviews, repeat terrestrial photographs, multi-year high-resolution satellite images, daily reservoir water levels and data on hourly to daily energy production were collected and studied. The results show that high flows (Q5) have declined (with factor 5), low flows (Q95) have increased (with factor 27), seasonal flow patterns have smoothened, river beds have incised (up to 4 m) and locally aggraded near tributary confluences. The active river bed has narrowed by 31%, which was accelerated by the gradual emergence of Tamarix nilotica and fruit plantations. A new post-dam equilibrium had been reached until it was disrupted by the 2018 emergency release, caused by reservoir management and above-normal reservoir inflow, and causing extensive erosion and agricultural losses downstream. Increased floodplain occupation for irrigated agriculture consequently provides an additional argument for reservoir operation optimization to avoid future risks for riparian communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluvial Geomorphology and River Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Recent Increase of Flood Frequency in the Ionian Belt of Basilicata Region, Southern Italy: Human or Climatic Changes?
Water 2020, 12(7), 2062; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12072062 - 21 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 733
Abstract
The Ionian coast of the Basilicata region, southern Italy, is characterized by a remarkable archaeological heritage, valuable crops, and national and international tourism, contributing significantly to the regional economy. In the last two decades, the area has been affected by the heavy recurrence [...] Read more.
The Ionian coast of the Basilicata region, southern Italy, is characterized by a remarkable archaeological heritage, valuable crops, and national and international tourism, contributing significantly to the regional economy. In the last two decades, the area has been affected by the heavy recurrence of flooding events, which caused significant damage to agriculture, tourist infrastructure, and archaeological heritage. Both qualitative and quantitative analyses of pluviometric, hydrometric, and erosion/deposition dynamics of main rivers have been carried out in order to investigate the role played by natural factors, climate changes, and human activity. The results show that flooding events in the Metaponto plain were certainly caused by extreme rainy events, but man has also played an important role. The Metaponto plain has been involved in a reclamation consisting of the building of an extensive channel network, which provided better land cultivation, easy access to the beaches, and archaeological heritage protection. The human impact related to the absence of channel cleaning has proved to be the most relevant factor that greatly amplified the effects of low-intensity rainfall events, thus triggering flooding events. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluvial Geomorphology and River Management)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Experimental Application of Sediment Flow Connectivity Index (SCI) in Flood Monitoring
Water 2020, 12(7), 1857; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12071857 - 28 Jun 2020
Viewed by 1103
Abstract
Sediment connectivity is considered a powerful geomorphic indicator for defining the most sensitive areas to geomorphological modifications in a fluvial catchment (hotspots). This encourages the development of methods and models for its assessment, to investigate the interrelation of the various phenomena that occur [...] Read more.
Sediment connectivity is considered a powerful geomorphic indicator for defining the most sensitive areas to geomorphological modifications in a fluvial catchment (hotspots). This encourages the development of methods and models for its assessment, to investigate the interrelation of the various phenomena that occur in a river basin (landslides, floods, etc.). This work explores the potential connection of the processes in flood dynamics, by focusing on induced flood hazard, in order to evaluate the applicability of sediment connectivity to flood monitoring. By applying the recently developed sediment flow connectivity index (SCI) computation method to the Severn River basin, in UK, recurrently affected by floods, we investigate the agreement between the hotspot areas (described by the index) and the areas recurrently flooded (as mapped by aerial photography, satellite imagery and hydrodynamic modelling). Qualitative and quantitative approaches are used for the analysis of past (March 2007 and January 2010) as well as predicted (with return periods of 200 and 500 years) flood events. The results show a good correspondence of areas of high sediment connectivity with flood occurrence. Moreover, the detection performance of the SCI is slightly better than that of a simple flow accumulation map, confirming the importance of the initial mapping of sediment availability and mobility. This experiment extends the direct applicability of the SCI from fluvial analysis to flood monitoring, thus opening interesting future scenarios. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluvial Geomorphology and River Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Model Test of the Effect of River Sinuosity on Nitrogen Purification Efficiency
Water 2020, 12(6), 1677; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12061677 - 11 Jun 2020
Viewed by 550
Abstract
River pollution is a significant problem within the urbanization process in China. Nitrogen is one of the most important pollutants in rivers, and the nitrogen purification capacity of rivers can be affected by their sinuous morphology. In this study, a set of sandy [...] Read more.
River pollution is a significant problem within the urbanization process in China. Nitrogen is one of the most important pollutants in rivers, and the nitrogen purification capacity of rivers can be affected by their sinuous morphology. In this study, a set of sandy circulating water test models was constructed, consisting of four river channel simulation models with sinuosities of 1.0, 1.4, 1.8, and 2.2. Each model was then infused with the same concentration of nitrogen-polluted water, which circulated for 52 h. The nitrogen reduction processes of rivers with different sinuosities were studied through water quality monitoring. The positive correlation between river sinuosity and nitrogen purification capacity was verified in physical laboratory test models. The effect of sinuosity on the spatiotemporal distribution of total nitrogen in pore water was confirmed. Additionally, the near-shore substrate was more involved in the process of river self-purification than the far-shore substrate. The concave bank of the sinuous rivers was more prone to pollutant accumulation and had a higher purification capacity than the convex bank. After the polluted water entered the sinuous channel systems, pollutant concentration differed within the convex bank between the more polluted upstream section and the less polluted downstream section. This study lays a foundation for studying the mechanism by which river sinuosity influences self-purification capacity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluvial Geomorphology and River Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Impacts of River Engineering on River Channel Behaviour: Implications for Managing Downstream Flood Risk
Water 2020, 12(5), 1355; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12051355 - 11 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2094
Abstract
Although knowledge of sediment transport has improved over the last 25 years, our understanding of bedload transfer and sediment delivery is still based on a limited set of observations or on models that make assumptions on hydraulic and sediment transport processes. This study [...] Read more.
Although knowledge of sediment transport has improved over the last 25 years, our understanding of bedload transfer and sediment delivery is still based on a limited set of observations or on models that make assumptions on hydraulic and sediment transport processes. This study utilises repeat lidar survey data of the River Caldew above the City of Carlisle in the UK to investigate the balance of erosion and deposition associated with channel switching from an engineered and managed single thread channel to a naturalising incipient wandering system. Over the 11-year survey period (four bankfull flood events) around 271,000 m3 of sediment were delivered to the river and floodplain and 197,000 m3 eroded suggesting that storage rates of around 7000 m3/annum occurred. The balance of erosion and deposition is influenced by channelisation with very restricted overbank sedimentation and only limited local and transient in-channel bar deposition along the engineered reach (8000 m3 eroded). This contrasts with the activity of the naturalising reach downstream where a developing wandering channel system is acting to store coarse sediment in-stream as large bar complexes and the associated upstream aggrading plane bed reaches and overbank as splay deposits (87,000 m3 stored). Such behavior suggests that naturalisation of channelised systems upstream of flood vulnerable urban areas can have a significant impact on sediment induced flooding downstream. This conclusion must, however, be moderated in the light of the relatively small volumes of material needed to instigate local aggradation in over-capacity urban channels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluvial Geomorphology and River Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Suspended Sediment in the Anavilhanas Archipelago, Rio Negro, Amazon Basin
Water 2020, 12(4), 1073; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12041073 - 09 Apr 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1772
Abstract
This article analyzes the flows of water and total suspended sediment in different reaches in the lower course of the Negro River, the largest fluvial blackwater system in the world. The area under study is the Anavilhanas Archipelago, which is a complex multichannel [...] Read more.
This article analyzes the flows of water and total suspended sediment in different reaches in the lower course of the Negro River, the largest fluvial blackwater system in the world. The area under study is the Anavilhanas Archipelago, which is a complex multichannel reach on the Negro River. Between the years 2016 and 2019, data about water discharge, velocity, and concentration of total suspended solids (TSS) were acquired in sample sections of the Negro River channels located upstream, inside, and downstream of the Anavilhanas Archipelago. In the study area, the Negro River drains an area greater than 700,000 km2, and the mean water discharge observed before the Anavilhanas was about 28.655 m3·s−1, of which 97% flows through two channels of the Archipelago close to the right and left banks. The mean TSS concentration of the Negro River upstream and downstream the Archipelago was 3.28 mg·L−1 and 1.63 mg·L−1, respectively. Within the Archipelago, we observed more TSS in the channel on the left bank of the Negro River (mean of 4.50 mg·L−1). The total suspended sediment discharge of the Negro River before (3.14 Mt·year−1) and after (1.43 Mt·year−1) the Anavilhanas Archipelago indicates a 55% retention of the suspended load due to the low water slope and reduced flow velocity caused by the backwater effect of Solimões River on the Negro River. The hydro-sedimentary scenario of the low course of the Negro River characterized in this study indicates a slow and continuous sedimentation process in the Anavilhanas Archipelago. The results presented will serve as a baseline to assess the impacts of the dams on the Branco River, the main tributary for both water and sediment in the Negro River basin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluvial Geomorphology and River Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Geomorphology as a Driver of Heavy Metal Accumulation Patterns in a Floodplain
Water 2020, 12(2), 563; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12020563 - 18 Feb 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1491
Abstract
The spatial complexity of floodplains is a function of several processes: hydrodynamics, flow direction, sediment transportation, and land use. Sediments can bind toxic elements, and as there are several pollution sources, the risk of heavy metal accumulation on the floodplains is high. We [...] Read more.
The spatial complexity of floodplains is a function of several processes: hydrodynamics, flow direction, sediment transportation, and land use. Sediments can bind toxic elements, and as there are several pollution sources, the risk of heavy metal accumulation on the floodplains is high. We aimed to determine whether fluvial forms have a role in metal accumulations. Topsoil samples were taken from point bars and swales in the floodplain of the Tisza River, North-East Hungary. Soil properties and metal concentrations were determined, and correlation and hypothesis testing were applied. The results showed that fluvial forms are important drivers of horizontal metal patterns: there were significant differences (p < 0.05) between point bars and swales regarding Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn. Vertical distribution also differed significantly by fluvial forms: swales had higher metal concentrations in all layers. General Linear Models had different results for macro and micro elements: macro element concentrations were determined by the organic matter, while for micro elements the clay content and the forms were significant explanatory variables. These findings are important for land managers and farmers because heavy metal concentration has a direct impact on living organisms, and the risk of bioaccumulation can be high on floodplains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluvial Geomorphology and River Management)
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Open AccessArticle
A Waterbody Typology Derived from Catchment Controls Using Self-Organising Maps
Water 2020, 12(1), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12010078 - 24 Dec 2019
Viewed by 1016
Abstract
Multiple catchment controls contribute to the geomorphic functioning of river systems at the reach-level, yet only a limited number are usually considered by river scientists and managers. This study uses multiple morphometric, geological, climatic and anthropogenic catchment characteristics to produce a single national [...] Read more.
Multiple catchment controls contribute to the geomorphic functioning of river systems at the reach-level, yet only a limited number are usually considered by river scientists and managers. This study uses multiple morphometric, geological, climatic and anthropogenic catchment characteristics to produce a single national typology of catchment controls in England and Wales. Self-organising maps, a machine learning technique, are used to reduce the complexity of the GIS-derived characteristics to classify 4485 Water Framework Directive waterbodies into seven types. The waterbody typology is mapped across England and Wales, primarily reflecting an upland to lowland gradient in catchment controls and secondarily reflecting the heterogeneity of the catchment landscape. The seven waterbody types are evaluated using reach-level physical habitat indices (including measures of sediment size, flow, channel modification and diversity) extracted from River Habitat Survey data. Significant differences are found between each of the waterbody types for most habitat indices suggesting that the GIS-derived typology has functional application for reach-level habitats. This waterbody typology derived from catchment controls is a valuable tool for understanding catchment influences on physical habitats. It should prove useful for rapid assessment of catchment controls for river management, especially where regulatory compliance is based on reach-level monitoring. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluvial Geomorphology and River Management)
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