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Mechanisms of Vegetation-Induced Channel Narrowing on an Unregulated Canyon-Bound River

Resource Category: 
Ecosystem Stressors
Other Considerations
Based on research conducted on the lower White River in Colorado, it was found that tamarisk establishment enhanced not only sediment deposition that leads to channel narrowing, but also to new vegetation establishment. Plants increased the friction in the channel,thus decreasing water velocity close to plants. Low velocity areas became susceptible to furthervegetation encroachment, particularly if they did not have high velocities for a series of ~4 or more years. As vegetation encroached and changed the shape of the channel, the importance of common and large floods, for vegetation establishment and sediment transport, changed.
Application of this process-based understanding to future flow regimes will help managers anticipate locations along the channel that are susceptible to vegetation encroachment andchanges to channel width.

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