Relating Bar Formation to Sandy River Channel Width

Murr, Marissa
Sandy rivers are complex systems that are not clearly understood but make up a large portion of rivers worldwide. Rivers effect many aspects of infrastructure like the building of bridges and dams. In addition to the impact that rivers have on society, they also effect many species of animals and plants. This is why improving human understanding of river movement is crucial for both environmental and societal purposes. After analyzing multiple rivers I have recognized general trends in the transport and deposition of sediments. I hypothesize that wider sections of rivers enable the formation of larger and more stable sandbars. If wider parts of the river have more exposed sand then there will be a greater number of opportunities for nesting environments for the piping plovers and least terns, species that are considered to be threatened and endangered. These birds are more likely to select nesting sites on larger (2+ acre) sandbars. Therefore, building future habitats in relatively wide parts of the river would be more conducive to natural bird habitats. The results of this study will aid in improving overall understanding of sandy rivers as well as give insight into where birds select to nest based on the geomorphology of a system.
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