Andy Markham

Andy Markham

Andy earned a PhD in Fluvial Geomorphology from London University and with the exception of brief forays into the research world, has since been a career consultant. He is a co-founder of the Hydrobiology group, and is currently based in Brisbane, Australia.

The First Five Minutes. The Importance of Timely Monitoring of Unexpected Physical Impacts to Rivers

There is an extensive literature that describes catastrophic sediment-related impacts to rivers, both natural and anthropogenic, but monitoring responses to such events are often implemented slowly, leading to critical stages of initial recovery being poorly documented. Typically, morphological responses to impacts occur quickly after the initial event, and rates of change and adjustment are high. Thereafter, the rates of physical change become slower. This model of response is referred to as the Geomorphic Decay Law, with the recovery curve approximating an exponential decay function. Therefore, to understand fully the nature of response to physical impact, it is critical that monitoring programs are quickly implemented in the days, and weeks following the impact where rates of change and response are greatest. This paper considers some case examples of rivers that have been overwhelmed by sediment events, and demonstrates the importance of a rapid monitoring response.

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