Channel Evolution Models as Predictors of Sediment Yield

Tim D. Keane, Christopher K. Sass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This paper recounts our predictions of channel evolution of the Black Vermillion River (BVR) and sediment yields associated with the evolutionary sequence. Channel design parameters allowed for the prediction of stable channel form and coincident sediment yields. Measured erosion rates and basin-specific bank erosion curves aided in prediction of the stream channel succession time frame. This understanding is critical in determining how and when to mitigate a myriad of instability consequences. The BVR drains approximately 1,062 km2 in the glaciated region of Northeast Kansas. Once tallgrass prairie, the basin has been modified extensively for agricultural production. As such, channelization has shortened the river by nearly 26 km from pre-European dimensions; shortening combined with the construction of numerous flow-through structures have produced dramatic impacts on discharge and sediment dynamics. Nine stream reaches were established within three main tributaries of the BVR in 2007. Reaches averaged 490 m in length, were surveyed, and assessed for channel stability, while resurveys were conducted annually through 2010 to monitor change. This work illustrates the association of current stream state, in-channel sediment contributions, and prediction of future erosion rates based on stream evolution informed by multiple models. Our findings suggest greater and more rapid sedimentation of a federal reservoir than has been predicted using standard sediment prediction methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1513-1529
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the American Water Resources Association
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We appreciate the support provided by the USDA CSREES 406 Integrated Program (Grant # KS600399) that allowed the work described here. Also, we thank the many Kansas State Graduate students who assisted in collection and processing of field data. Special thanks go to Dave Rosgen Ph.D. of Wildland Hydrology, Inc. for advice on stable channel parameters. We thank the private landowners and producers who granted permission for us to access our study sites over the four-year period of the work reported here. We also wish to submit our gratitude to four anonymous reviewers who offered insightful and constructive comments that led to the publishing of this paper. Finally we acknowledge research colleagues, Phil Barnes, Ph.D. and Katie Burke, Ph.D. who contributed to this work in many ways.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Water Resources Association


  • channel stability
  • channel succession
  • reservoir sedimentation
  • sediment yield
  • stream channel evolution
  • streambank erosion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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