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Jonathan Nelson

Research Hydrologist

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Short Biography

Jonathan Nelson received his Ph.D. in Geophysics from the University of Washington. His research work focuses on flow, sediment transport, and morphodynamics in rivers, with particular emphasis on the mechanics of bars and bedforms. H is currently Chief of the Environmental Fluid Dynamics Project and the Geomorphology and Sediment Transport Laboratory (GSTL) in Golden, Colorado. In addition to carrying out basic and applied research on rivers, his group at GSTL develops, distributes, and provides education for multidimensional modeling codes for river applications.



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Nelson, J.M., McDonald, R.R., Kinzel, P.J., and Legleiter, C.J., in press, Using computational models to improve remotely sensed estimates of river bathymetry, J. Sediment Research.

McDonald, R.R., Bennett, J.P., and Nelson, J.M., in press, Multi-dimensional surface water modeling system user's guide: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods, book 6, chap.B2, 156 p.

Kinzel, P.J., Legleiter, C.J., and Nelson, J.M., in press, Mapping river bathymetry with a small footprint green LiDAR: Applications and challenges, Remote Sensing and the Environment. 48 p.

Nelson, J.M., McDonald, R.R., Kinzel, P.J., and Shimizu, Y., 2012, Using Computational Modeling of River Flow with Remotely Sensed Data to Infer Channel Bathymetry, River Flow 2012, Proceedings of the International Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics, September 5-7, 2012, San Jose, Costa Rica, 8p.

Sloff, C.J., Nieuwboer, B., Logan, B., Nelson, J., 2012, Effect of sediment entrainment and  avalanching on modeling of Grand Canyon eddy bars. River Flow 2012: Proceedings of the International Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics, 5-7 September 2012, San Jose, Costa Rica, 8p.

Kinzel, P.J., Legleiter, C.J., Overstreet, B., Hooper, B., Vierra, K., Nelson, J.M. and Zuckerman, S., Comparison of acoustic and remotely sensed bathymetry and flow velocity at a river channel confluence, 2012, ASCE Hydraulic Methods and Experimental Methods Conference, August 12-15, 2012, Snowbird Utah, 7 p.

Legleiter, C.J., Kyriakidis, P.C., McDonald, R.R., and Nelson, J.M., 2011, Effects of uncertain topographic input data on two-dimensional flow modeling in a gravel-bed river: Water Resources Research, v. 47, W03518, doi:10.1029/2010WR009618 (on-line abstract of journal article)

Logan, B.L., McDonald, R.R., Nelson, J.M., Kinzel, P.J., and Barton, G.J., 2011, Use of multidimensional modeling to evaluate a channel restoration design for the Kootenai River, Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010-5213, 74 p. (on-line abstract or on-line report in pdf format, 106 MB)

Nelson, J.M., McDonald, R.R., Kinzel, P.J., and Legleiter, C.J., 2011, Using computational models to improve remotely sensed estimates of river bathymetry, Proceedings of the 2011 River, Coastal and Estuarine Morphodynamics Meeting, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.

Nelson, J.M., Logan, B.L., Kinzel, P.J., Shimizu, Y., Giri, S., Shreve, R.L., and McLean, S.R., 2011, Bedform Response to Flow Variability: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 36 (14), 1938-1947.

Nelson, J.M., Shimizu, Y. and McDonald, R.M., 2010, Integrating bedform dynamics with large-scale computational models for flow and morphodynamics in rivers, in: Proceedings of the 17th Annual Conference of the Asia and Pacific Division of the International Association of Hydraulic Engineering and Research, February 22-24, 2010, Auckland, New Zealand, Digital Media, 8 p.

Barton, G. Hoffman, G., McDonald, R., and Nelson, J., 2010, Kootenai River white sturgeon critical habitat with free flowing and backwater conditions, Boundary County, Idaho: Evaluation of water depth and flow velocity during 2006-09 spawning seasons: Proceedings of the 4th Federal Interagency Hydrologic Modeling Conference and of the 9th Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference, 12 p. (on-line paper in pdf format, 1076 KB)

Kinzel, P., Nelson, J., McDonald, R., and Logan, B., 2010, Topographic evolution of sandbars: Flume emperiment and computational modeling: Proceedings of the 4th Federal Interagency Hydrologic Modeling Conference and of the 9th Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference, 8 p. (on-line paper in pdf format, 213 KB)

Logan, B., Nelson, J., McDonald, R., and Wright, S., 2010, Mechanics and modeling of flow, sediment transport and morphologic change in riverine lateral separation zones: Proceedings of the 4th Federal Interagency Hydrologic Modeling Conference and of the 9th Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference, 12 p. (on-line paper in pdf format, 317 KB)

McDonald, R., Nelson, J., Paragamian, V., and Barton, G., 2010, Modeling the effect of flow and sediment transport on white sturgeon spawning habitat in the Kootenai River, Idaho: Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, v. 136 no. 12, p. 1077-1092. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Nelson, J.M., Shimizu, Y., Giri, S., and McDonald, R.R., 2010, Computational modeling of bedform evolution in rivers with implications for predictions of flood stage and bed evolution: Proceedings of the 4th Federal Interagency Hydrologic Modeling Conference and of the 9th Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference, 9 p. (on-line paper in pdf format, 225 KB)

Nelson, J.M., Shimizu, Y., Takebayashi, H., and McDonald, R.R., 2010, The International River Interface Cooperative: Public domain software for river modeling: Proceedings of the 4th Federal Interagency Hydrologic Modeling Conference and of the 9th Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference, 9 p. (on-line paper in pdf format, 225 KB)

Kinzel, P.J., Nelson, J.M., and Heckman, A.K., 2009, Response of sandhill crane (Grus canadensis) riverine roosting habitat to changes in stage and sandbar morphology: River Research and Applications, v. 25, no. 2, p. 135-152. (on-line abstract or on-line article in pdf format, 726 KB, published by John Wiley as a U.S. government work in the public domain)

Nelson, J.M., Shimizu, Y., McDonald, R.M., and Logan, B., 2009, Integrating computational models for bedform development with reach-scale flow and morphodynamics models for rivers, in: Proceedings of the 6th IAHR Symposium on River, Coastal and Estuarine Morphodynamics, CRC Press/Balkema, 709-714.

Shimizu, Y., Giri, S., Yamaguchi, S., and Nelson, J., 2009, Numerical simulation of dune-flat bed transition and stage-discharge relationship with hysteresis effect: Water Resources Research, v. 45, W04429. doi:10.1029/2008WR006830 (on-line abstract of journal article)

 

 

Nelson, J.M., Logan, B.L., Kinzel, P.J., Shimizu, Y., Giri, S., Shreve, R.L., and McLean, S.R., 2008, Bedform Response to Flow Variability, in Parsons, D.R., Garlan, T., and Best, J.L., eds., Marine Sandwave and River Dune Dynamics III, University of Leeds, p 241-248.

Barton, G.J., McDonald, R.R., and Nelson, J.M., 2007, Simulation of Flow Using a Multidimensional Flow Model for White Sturgeon Habitat, Kootenai River near Bonners Ferry, Idaho-A Supplement to Scientific Investigations Report 2005-5230.

Giri, S., Yamaguchi, S., Shimizu, Y, and Nelson, J.M., 2007, Simulating temporal responses of bedforms to varying flows, in Dohmen-Janssen, C., and Hulscher, S., eds, River Coastal and Estuarine Morphodynamics: London, CRC Press, p. 939-947.

Kinzel, P.J., Wright, C.W., Nelson, J.M., and Burman, A.R., 2007, Evaluation of an experimental LiDAR for surveying a shallow, braided, sand-bedded river: Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, v. 133, no. 7, p. 838-842. (on-line abstract of journal article)

McLean, S.R., Nelson, J.M., and Gary, L., 2007, Suspended sediment in the presence of dunes, in Dohmen-Janssen, C., and Hulscher, S., eds., River Coastal and Estuarine Morphodynamics: CRC Press, London, p. 611-618.

Schmeeckle, M.W., Nelson, J.M., and Shreve, R.L., 2007, Forces on stationary particles in near-bed turbulent flows: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 112, F02003m doi:1029/2006JF000536 (on-line abstract of journal article)

Barton, G.J., McDonald, R.R., Nelson, J.M., Donato, M., Van Metre, P., and Mahler, B., 2006, Altered dynamics of Kootenai River white sturgeon spawning habitat and flow modeling: CD-ROM Proceedings of the Joint 8th Federal Interagency Sedimentation and 3rd Federal Interagency Hydrologic Modeling Conference, Reno, Nevada, April 2-6, 2006, ISBN 0-9779007-1-1.

Heckman A.K., Kinzel P.J, Nelson, J.M., 2006, Use of aerial infrared thermography to map emergent riverine sandbars: Proceedings of the 8th Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference, April 2-6, 2006, Reno, Nev: Subcommittee on Sedimentation, CD_ROM, 8 p.

Kinzel, P.J., Nelson, J.M., and Heckman, A.K., 2006, Channel morphology and bed sediment characteristics before and after riparian vegetation clearing in the Cottonwood Ranch, Platte River, Nebraska: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2005-5285, 25 p. (on-line abstract or on-line report in pdf format, 9.46MB)

Kinzel, P.J., Nelson, J.M., Parker, R.S., and Davis, L.R., 2006, Spring census of mid-continent sandhill cranes using aerial infrared videography: Journal of Wildlife Management, v. 70, no. 1, p. 70-77. (on-line abstract of journal article)

 

Kinzel, P.J., Nelson, J.M. and Wright, C.W., 2006, Monitoring changes in the Platte River riparian corridor with serial LiDAR surveys: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2006-3063, 4p. (on-line abstract or on-line fact sheet in pdf format, 3 MB)

Kinzel, P.J., Wright, C.W., and Nelson, J.M., 2006, Application of an experimental airborne laser scanner for surveying a braided river channel, in Proceedings of the 8th Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference, April 2-6, 2006, Reno, Nev: Subcommittee on Sedimentation, CD_ROM, 8 p.

McLean, S.R., and Nelson, J.M., 2006, Sediment transport over ripples and dunes, in: Parker, G., and Garcia, M., River Coastal and Estuarine Morphodynamics, Taylor and Francis, London, p. 821-829.

McDonald, R.R., Nelson, J.M., Kinzel, P.J., and Conaway, J.S., 2006, Modeling surface-water flow and sediment mobility with the multi-dimensional surface water modeling system: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2005-3078. (on-line fact sheet)

Nelson, J.M., Burman, A.R., Shimizu, Y., McLean, S.R., Shreve, R.L., and Schmeeckle, M.W., 2006, Computing flow and sediment transport over bedforms, in Parker, G., and Garcia, M., River Coastal and Estuarine Morphodynamics: London, Taylor and Francis, p. 861-872.

Nelson, J.M., McDonald, R.R., and Kinzel, P.J., 2006, Morphologic evolution in the USGS surface-water modeling system: Proceedings of the 8th Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference, April 2-6, 2006, Reno, Nev: Subcommittee on Sedimentation, CD_ROM, 8 p.

Barton, G.J., McDonald, R.R., Nelson, J.M., and Dinehart, R.L., 2005, Simulation of flow and sediment mobility using a multidimensional flow model for the white sturgeon critical-habitat reach, Kootenai River near Bonners Ferry, Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2005-5230 64 p. (on-line abstract or on-line report in pdf format, 4.6MB)

Kinzel, P.J., Nelson, J.M., and Parker, R.S., 2005, Assessing Sandhill Crane roosting habitat along the Platte River, Nebraska: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2005-3029. (on-line fact sheet or on-line fact sheet in pdf format, 2.1 MB)

Kinzel, P.J., Parker, R.S., Nelson, J.M., Gyetvai, S., Burman, A., and Heckman, A., 2005, Geomorphic data collected within Nebraska Public Power District's Cottonwood Ranch Property, Platte River, Nebraska, Water Year 2004, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2005-1090, 23 p. (on-line report available for download)

Mueller, E.R., Pitlick, J., and Nelson, J.M., 2005, Variation in the reference Shields stress for bed load transport in gravel-bed streams and rivers: Water Resources Research, v. 41, no. 4, W04006, doi:10.1029/2004WR003692. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Kinzel, P.J., Parker, R.S., Nelson, J.M., Gyetvai, S., Burman, A., and Heckman, A., 2004, Geomorphic data collected within Nebraska Public Power District's Cottonwood Ranch Property, Platte River, Nebraska, Water Year 2004, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2004-1292, 25 p. (on-line report available for download)

Kinzel, P., Parker, R., Nelson, J., Burman, R., and Heckman, A., 2003, Geomorphic data collected within and adjacent to Nebraska Public Power District's Cottonwood Ranch Property, Platte River, Nebraska, Water Year 2001: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 03-170, 19 p. (on-line report available for download; CD also available).

Kinzel, P., Parker, R., Nelson, J., Burman, R., and Heckman, A., 2003, Geomorphic data collected within and adjacent to Nebraska Public Power District's Cottonwood Ranch Property, Platte River, Nebraska, Water Year 2002: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 03-171, 19 p. (on-line report available for download; CD also available).

Maddux, T.B., Nelson, J.M., and McLean, S.R., 2003, Turbulent flow over three-dimensional dunes, 1: Free surface and flow response: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 108, No. F1 (on-line abstract)

Maddux, T.B., McLean, S.R., and Nelson, J.M., 2003, Turbulent flow over three-dimensional dunes, 2: Fluid and bed stresses: Journal of Geophysical Research,v. 108, No. F1. (on-line abstract)

Nelson, J. M., Bennett, J. P., and Wiele, S. M., 2003, Flow and sediment transport modeling, in M. Kondolph and H. Piegay, eds., Tools in Fluvial Geomorphology: Chichester, England, Wiley and Sons, p. 539-576.

Schmeeckle, M.W., and Nelson, J.M., 2003, Direct numerical simulation of bedload transport using a local dynamic boundary condition: Sedimentology, v. 50, no. 2, p. 279-302. (on-line abstract)

Nelson, J.M., 2001, Book Review: Roughness Characteristics of New Zealand Rivers by D.M. Hicks and P.D. Mason,  Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, v. 127 (6), p. 526-527.

Nelson, J.M., Schmeeckle, M.W., Shreve, R.L., 2001, Turbulence and particle entrainment, Chapter 2, in: Gravel Bed Rivers 5, NIWA, 221-248.

Nelson, J.M., Schmeeckle, M.W., Shreve, R.L., and McLean, S.R., 2001, Sediment entrainment and transport in complex flows, p. 1-23, in: Morphodynamics of Rivers and Estuaries, ed. G. Seminara, IAHR.

Nelson, J. M., Schmeeckle, M. W., and Shreve, R. L., 2001, Entrainment revisited:  high-frequency measurements of forces on sediment particles in turbulent flow, p.110-117, ch. XI, in Proceedings of the 7th Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference, 25-29 March 2001, Reno, Nevada

Schmeeckle, M. W., Nelson, J. M., Pitlick, J., Bennett, J. P., 2001, Interparticle collisions of natural sediment grains in water, Water Resources Research, v. 37, no. 9, p. 2377-2392.

Lisle, T.E., Nelson, J.M., Pitlick, J., Madej, M.A., and Barkett, B.L., 2000, Variability of bed mobility in natural, gravel-bed channels and adjustments to sediment load at local and reach scales, Water Resources Research, v. 26, no. 12, 3743-3755.

Shimizu, Y., Schmeeckle, M. W., and Nelson, J. M., 2000, Three-dimensional calculation of flow over two-dimensional dunes, Japan Society of Civil Engineers Annual Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, v. 43, p. 623-628

 

Topping, D.J., Rubin, D.M., Nelson, J.M., Kinzel, P.J., and Corson, I.C., 2000, Colorado River sediment transport 2. Systematic bed-elevation and grain-size effects of sand supply limitation, Water Resources Research, v. 36, p. 543-570.

Kinzel, P.J., Nelson, J.M., Parker, R.S., Bennett, J.P., and Topping D.J., 1999, Grain-size evolution of the Platte River, 1931-1998, in: Lingle, G., ed., Proceedings of the Tenth Platte River Basin Ecosystem Symposium, University of Nebraska, p. 9-14.

McLean, S.R., and Nelson, J.M., 1999, The role of bedform-induced spatial acceleration in determining bedform evolution, Proceedings of the Coastal Ocean Processes Symposium, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Technical Report, 99-04, p. 137-140.

McLean, S.R., Wolfe, S.R., and Nelson, J.M., 1999, Spatially averaged flow over a wavy boundary revisited, Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 104, no. C7, 15,743-15,753.

Nelson, J.M., 1999, Book Review: Erosion and Sedimentation, by Pierre Julien, EOS, Invited Contribution. 

Nelson, J.M., Shreve, R.L., Fredsoe, J., Sumer, M., and Lodahl, C., 1999, Bedload transport in oscillatory flows at intermediate wave Reynolds numbers, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Technical Report p. 9-04, p. 163-166.

Topping, D.J., Rubin, D.M., Nelson, J.M., Kinzel, P.J., and Bennett, J.P., 1999, Linkage between grain-size evolution and sediment depletion during Colorado River floods, in Webb, R.H., Schmidt, J.C., Marzolf, G.R., and Valdez, R.A., eds., The 1996 controlled flood in Grand Canyon, American Geophysical Union Monograph 110, Washington, D.C., p. 71-98.

McLean, S.R., Wolfe, S.R., and Nelson, J.M., 1998, Predicting boundary shear stress for the purpose of estimating sediment transport over two-dimensional bedforms, Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, v. 125(7), p. 725-736.

Nelson, J.M., Schmeeckle, M.W., and Shreve, R.L., 1998, High-frequency measurements of forces on stationary sediment grains in turbulent flows,  in: Engineering Mechanics: Proceedings of the 12th Conference, ASCE, New York.

Rubin, D.M., Nelson, J.M., and Topping, D.J., 1998, Relation of inversely graded deposits to suspended-sediment grain-size evolution during the 1996 Flood Experiment in Grand Canyon, Geology, v.26, p. 99-102.

Schmeeckle, M.W., Nelson, J.M., and Pitlick, J., 1998, Direct numerical simulation of bedload sediment transport, in: Engineering Mechanics: Proceedings of the 12th Conference, ASCE, New York.

Thompson, D.M., Nelson, J.M., and Wohl, E.E., 1998, Interactions between pool geometry and hydraulics, Water Resources Research, v. 34(12), p. 3673-3681.

McDonald R.R., and Nelson J.M., 1997, Field measurements of flow in lateral separation eddies on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon,  Glen Canyon Environmental Studies Report, 41 pp.

Nelson, J.M., and McDonald R.R., 1997, Mechanics and modeling of flow and bed evolution in lateral separation eddies, Glen Canyon Environmental Studies Report, 69 pp.

McLean, S.R., Nelson, J.M., and Shreve, R.L., 1996, Flow-sediment interactions in separating flows over bedforms, in: P. Ashworth, S. Bennett, J. Best, and S. McLelland (eds), Coherent Flow Structures in Open Channels, Wiley, Chichester, p. 203-226.

Nelson, J.M., 1996, Predictive Techniques for River Channel Evolution and Maintenance, Water, Soil, and Air Pollution, v. 90, p. 321-333. (Also reprinted as a book chapter, in: Chow, W., Brocksen, R.W., and Wisniewski, J., eds, Clean Water: Factors that Influence its Availability, Quality, and Use.)

Nelson, J.M., 1996, The role of floods in the development and maintenance of lateral separation deposits in the Colorado River in Grand Canyon, Proceedings of the International Seminar on Recent Trends of Floods and Their Preventative Measures, Hokkaido Disaster Prevention Research Center, Hokkaido, Japan, p. 175-189.

McLean, S.R., and Nelson, J.M., 1995, Measurement and modeling of near-bed sediment transport, in: M. Belorgy, R. Rajaona, and J. Sleath,  Sediment Transport Mechanisms in Coastal Environments and Rivers: Euromech 310, World Scientific, Singapore, p. 131-145.

Nelson, J.M., Shreve, R.L., McLean, S.R., and Drake, T.G., 1995, Role of near-bed turbulence structure in bed load transport and bed form mechanics, Water Resources Research, v. 31, no. 8, 2071-2086.

Nelson, J.M., Shreve R.L., and McLean, S.R., 1995, The role of near-bed turbulence in bedload transport, in: Stein Sture (ed), Engineering Mechanics: Proceedings of the 10th Conference, ASCE, New York, p. 686-689.

McLean, S.R., Nelson, J.M., and Wolfe, S.R., 1994, Turbulence structure over two-dimensional bedforms: Implications for sediment transport, Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 99, no. C6, p. 12729-12747.

Nelson, J.M., McLean, S.R., and Wolfe, S.R., 1993, Mean flow and turbulence fields over two-dimensional bed forms, Water Resources Research, v. 29, no. 12, p. 3935-3953.

Wiberg, P.L. and Nelson, J.M., 1992, Unidirectional flow over asymmetric and symmetric ripples, J. Geophysical Research, v. 97, no. C8, p.12745-12761.

Nelson, J.M., Emmett, W.W., and Smith, J.D., 1991, Flow and sediment transport in rough channels, in: S. Fan and Y. Kuo (eds), Proceedings of the Fifth Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference, Chapter R, p. 55-62.

Nelson, J.M., 1990, The initial instability and finite-amplitude stability of alternate bars in straight channels, Earth Science Reviews, v.29, p. 97-115.

 

 

Andrews, E.D., and Nelson, J.M., 1989, Adjustment of a bar in the Green River, Utah, to variations in discharge, in: S. Ikeda and G. Parker (eds), River Meandering, AGU Water Resources Monograph 12, Washington, D.C., p. 69-102.

Nelson, J.M., and Smith, J.D., 1989, Mechanics of flow over ripples and dunes, Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 94, no. C6, p. 8146-8162.

Nelson, J.M., and Smith, J.D., 1989, Flow in meandering channels with natural  topography, in: S. Ikeda and G. Parker (eds), River Meandering, AGU Water Resources Monograph 12, Washington, D.C., p. 69-102.

Nelson, J.M., and Smith, J.D., 1989, Evolution and stability of erodible channel beds, in: S. Ikeda and G. Parker (eds), River Meandering, AGU Water Resources Monograph 12, Washington, D.C., p. 321-377.

Smith, J.D. and Nelson, J.M., 1989, Mechanics of mud flows in curved channels with uneven beds, in: S.Y. Wang (ed), Proceedings of the International Symposium on Sediment Transport Modeling, ASCE, New York, p. 518-523.

Shimizu, Y., Smith, J.D., and Nelson, J.M., 1989, Comparison of models for single thread streams, in: S.Y. Wang (ed), Proceedings of the International Symposium on Sediment Transport Modeling, ASCE, New York, p. 524-529.

Nelson, J.M., 1988, Mechanics of flow and sediment transport over nonuniform erodible beds, University of Washington, Geophysics Program, Ph.D. dissertation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




                           

My Science Topics


Science Topic
Subtopic
Hydrologic Processesstreamflow
Hydrologic Processessediment transport
Hydrologic Processesscour
Hydrologic Processeshydrodynamics
Water Resourcesfloods
Water Resourcessediment transport
Water Resourcessurface water
Environmental Issuesdredging
Ecology and Environmentaquatic ecosystems
Ecology and Environmentfreshwater ecosystems
Ecology and Environmenthabitat alteration
Ecology and Environmenthabitats
Natural Hazardsfloods



My USGS Science Strategy Areas

Understanding Ecosystems & Predicting Ecosystems Change

The Role of Environment and Wildlife in Human Health

River Research at the USGS Geomorphology and Sediment Transport Laboratory

Image of Current Focus for River Research at the USGS Geomorphology and Sediment Transport Laboratory

River research at GSTL is focused on two general objectives: first, to better understand the basic physics of coupled flow and sediment transport in geophysical flows; second, to develop practical tools based on that understanding that can be used in a predictive manner to aid in the management of the Nation’s rivers. Within the context of this overarching pair of long-term goals, the project has a number of specific shorter-term objectives, some of which are research oriented, and others of which are related to technology transfer or consultation on specific riverine issues. Our current research objectives are as follows:

 

(1)   Develop and test physically based methods for predicting the initiation, development, and response to time-varying flows of riverine bedforms (ripples and dunes). This research is being addressed using a combination of field, laboratory, and computational efforts.

(2)   Develop, test, and refine methods for predicting bar response to time-varying flows. Computational tools for this research were developed by this project some time ago; this research effort consists of collecting detailed laboratory data sets for model testing.

(3)   Develop, test and distribute algorithms that construct explicit linkages between physical river characteristics and habitat or other biological considerations.

(4)   Develop, test, and refine methods for collecting river bathymetry using remote-sensing techniques. This involves using multi/hyperspectral scans, visible-wavelength LiDAR, and other optical techniques from an airborne platform to determine river characteristics. A significant component of this effort has been to develop error estimates for multidimensional models using remotely sensed bathymetry.

(5)   Develop new understanding and basic laboratory data sets on the interaction of turbulence and sediment transport. This work uses a combination of particle-image velocimetry, phase-Doppler velocimetry, and high-speed videography to develop relations between instantaneous flow conditions (including turbulent fluctuations) and both forces on sediment particles and the details of their motion and spatial concentration.

 

Our current objectives for technology transfer and consultation on specific riverine issues are as follows:

 

(1)   Develop, maintain, distribute, and provide training on state-of-the-art river modeling software. This objective is being accomplished through iRIC, which is a software package developed and supported by our project along with colleagues at Universities and other agencies in the US and abroad.

(2)   Provide consultation, modeling services, review and oversight for the Kootenai River Restoration Project at the request of BPA and the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho.

(3)   Provide consultation, review, and oversight on river flow and sediment transport modeling for the Coeur D’Alene River Superfund site at the request of EPA.

(4)   Provide modeling services and interpretation to help managers understand how various releases from Glen Canyon Dam impact eddy deposits in Grand Canyon. This work is carried out at the request of USGS GCMRC as part of joint work among USGS, BOR, NPS, and University researchers.

(5)   Many smaller projects carried out cooperatively with USGS WSC staff and University researchers, including work on Copper River, Fountain Creek, Klamath River, Trinity River, Green River, Colorado River, Platte River, Cedar River, Missouri River, Flint River, Red River, Mississippi River, etc.

 


Contact Information

Jonathan Nelson
4620 TECHNOLOGY DR
Golden, CO 80403
jmn@usgs.gov
303-278-7957
303-279-4165 - Fax
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