95th ESA Annual Meeting (August 1 -- 6, 2010)

PS 60-132 - Prediction of stage, bathymetry, and succession of riparian vegetation of the lower Olentangy river after removal of the Fifth Avenue Dam

Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Exhibit Hall A, David L Lawrence Convention Center
Alexandra C. Naegele, School of Environment and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University, Li Zhang, State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology & College of Life Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China and William J. Mitsch, The Ohio State University, Wilma H. Schiermer Olentangy River Wetland Research Park, Columbus, OH
Background/Question/Methods The Olentangy River is a third order stream in Central Ohio impounded by multiple low-head dams, and consequently the 3 km reservoir created upstream of a dam on the river and adjacent to The Ohio State University campus is currently in non-attainment of biological and ambient water quality standards. Planned river ecosystem restoration is based on the removal of the Fifth Avenue Dam, which would allow for increased flow velocity and sediment transport, improving total water quality. This study looks at the relationships among flow, stage level, and current bathymetry of the Olentangy River to predict the bathymetric profile of the river upstream of the dam after it has been decommissioned and the vegetation that will result on new riparian areas. Results/Conclusions

The flow of the river was calculated as a function of the river stage using a rating curve developed by the U.S. Geological Survey and our previous research, and we calculated an average streamflow of 17 m3/s. Using the relationship between river stage and flow, we can predict the changes in the bathymetry of the Lower Olentangy River. Additionally, a model is being developed which shows the succession of riparian vegetation on the newly exposed riverbanks and details the changes in species distribution and growth over time. The expected riparian vegetation is based on the growth pattern of emergent vegetation at similar locations along the river and at the Olentangy River Wetlands Research Park.