Local flow convergence, bed scour, and aquatic habitat formation during floods around wooden training structures placed on sand-gravel bars

Sci Total Environ. 2022 Apr 15;817:152992. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.152992. Epub 2022 Jan 10.


Riverine ponds, which are formed and sustained through sediment erosion and deposition, are key habitats for enhancing biodiversity in river reaches. The objective of this study was to understand the roles of traditional river-training wooden structures called "seigyu" on the formation of ponds on nonvegetated bars. Here, the spatial and temporal patterns of the flow and bedform coupled with pond formations for several flood events were assessed. The surface flow patterns were monitored by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and evaluated by large-scale particle image velocimetry (LSPIV); the maximum flow velocities were 1.3 m s-1 and 1.9 m s-1 during floods when seigyu units were partially and fully submerged, respectively. Although the overall mean flow velocity was greater for the latter events, the spatial variation in flow velocity and dissipation rate of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) around seigyu was greater for the former events. Such flow patterns affected both bed formation and ecological habitats; ponds were formed at locations beside and behind seigyu, where the flow converged and bed scouring occurred during floods. The frequency and size of ponds around seigyu increased in the early half of the season, and they decreased in the other half when floods were greater in magnitude, which suggests that the bed scouring effect of seigyu was greater in flood stages with partial than fully submergence. Although the bar ponds lack shade to temper the effects of incident light and atmospheric conditions, the ponds displayed smaller daily oscillations in temperature than did the main river, probably due to hyporheic water supply to the ponds. Because many aquatic species cannot tolerate extremely high temperatures in summer, the generation and maintenance of deeper ponds by scouring with sufficient water exchange with the hyporheic zone can be key to enhancing colonization by various aquatic species.

Keywords: Gravel bars; LSPIV; River training structure; Scour holes; Submergence; Water temperature.

MeSH terms

  • Biodiversity
  • Ecosystem
  • Floods*
  • Rivers
  • Sand*


  • Sand