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Durham e-Theses
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Assessing the importance of river bank erosion for fine sediment delivery to Bassenthwaite Lake

Hopkins, Jonathan (2007) Assessing the importance of river bank erosion for fine sediment delivery to Bassenthwaite Lake. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Available evidence from lake sediment core records and short-term sediment flux sampling programs has suggested increased fine sediment deposition and suspended sediment transfers to Bassenthwaite Lake, Cumbria, U.K over recent decades. This increase in sedimentation has been associated with a decline in water quality in the lake which is thought to have had serious consequences for the population of the vendace (Coregonu albula), which also declined markedly during the 1990ร and into the 21 St Century. Recent studies of sediment delivery risk in the catchment have suggested that there are potentially large sediment sources in the lowland river network, especially the River Derwent between Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite Lake. The aim of this research is to describe the characteristics of fluvial suspended sediment transfers to Bassenthwaite Lake through direct monitoring of the River Dement and Newlands Beck (at the head of Bassenthwaite Lake) in order to assess the potential contribution of river bank erosion on the lowland River Derwent to fine sediment delivery. Three suspended sediment monitoring stations at Portinscale and Low Stock Bndge on the River Derwent and at Newlands Beck Bridge are used to assess changes in sediment transport along these important river reaches. The potential contribution of river bank erosion to fluvial sediment delivery was assessed by river bank mapping and surveying of erosion features on the 5.7km reach of the River Derwent between Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite Lake, along with a detailed study of morphological change on three river banks near Low Stock Bridge using a terrestrial laser scanner. The main findings of this project suggest that the River Derwent dominates suspended sediment transfers to Bassenthwaite Lake. The fine sediment load transported on the Derwent is over five times greater than that of Newlands Beck and the mean suspended sediment concentration on the lower Derwent is 56% higher than that on Newlands Beck. Specific catchment sediment yields for the River Derwent and Newlands Beck, based on effective drainage area, are 50.871 km(^2) a(^-1) and 35.721 km2 a(^-1) respectively. A high proportion of all suspended sediment transfers in the lowland Bassenthwaite Lake catchment were observed to occur in high-magnitude, low-frequency flow events, with approximately two- thirds of total suspended sediment transport occurring in just over 10% of the time. There is also direct evidence for increased fine sediment supply on the lowland River Derwent, as an estimated 1,158 ta(^-1) increase in the overall sediment load was observed on the 3.7 km reach of the Derwent between Portinscale and Low stock Bridge. Hysteresis analysis and analysis of suspended sediment transfers during high flow events on the Derwent support this hypothesis. Overall, 21.1% of all river banks on the River Derwent were assessed as eroded, with 9.4% of banks undergoing active river bank erosion. Therefore, it is suggested that river bank erosion is a significant fine sediment source in the lowland Bassenthwaite catchment, and that it is responsible for a large proportion of sediment inputs on the lowland River Derwent (c. 18.9%), and ultimately to Bassenthwaite Lake.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Science
Thesis Date:2007
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:32

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