Martinez receives grant to research the effects of stream impoundment

The construction of dams and the effect of stream impoundments have caused changes in river characteristics.

Environmental Sciences and geography professor Adriana Martinez (left) and Suzanne Walther from Utah Valley University, Co-PI on the project (right).

Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences Program professor Adriana Martinez has received a 2014 iUTAH Research Catalyst Grant to examine changes in sediment dynamics, channel shape and vegetation along the Provo River in Utah. Her research will begin this summer.

“The initial grant provided by iUtah will allow us to collect preliminary data so we can continue to apply for additional funding and continue to monitor the river system in the years to come,” Martinez said.

Martinez said this work, “Stream Impoundment: Comprehensive Riverine Effects on the Provo River, Utah,” is a long-term study on three aspects of stream adjustments after impoundment: the sediment dynamics, channel morphology and ecology.

The effects of stream impoundment are gradually being uncovered as more research is conducted on the hydrologic, morphologic, sediment, and ecologic impacts of dams, according to Martinez.

Martinez said examining this system allows for a comprehensive, long-term study that can elucidate the effects of impoundment on all aspects of a river system.

This data is particularly important as Utah faces climate change and population growth, both of which stress water availability, and has the potential to inform and improve watershed management practices to result in both a healthy fluvial system and a sustainable water resource, according to Martinez.

“With this work, we will develop a long-term monitoring scheme to ascertain the effects of the impoundment on all three major components of the river system,” Martinez said. “This allows for research into changes in river characteristics over time and an in-depth study in how all three of these aspects interact with each other.”

According to its website, the iUTAH Science For Utah’s Water Future gives opportunities and resources to projects to support the involvement of students, teachers and researchers at all academic levels.


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