2016 AWRA Spring Specialty Conference: Water - Energy - Environment
Posters Sessions


Monday, April 25 - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Posters will be on display Monday, from 8:30 AM - 6:30 PM (Poster Presenters will be at their posters from 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM during the Opening Networking Reception) and Tuesday from 8:30 AM - 3:30 PM

Note: The Presenter of each poster is in BOLD type immediately following the poster title. Co-authors are then listed in parentheses.


A Forward Mount for Swiftwater ADCP Measurements - David Brailey, Brailey Hydrologic, Anchorage, AK

The expedience of discharge measurements using acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs) makes direct measurements feasible for peak flows and multiple-channel flows on swiftwater rivers. These measurements are needed for transportation planning, instream flow and hydroelectric resource evaluations in mountainous and arctic regions. High velocities, turbulence, and moving bedload typical of swiftwater streams and some floodwaters can degrade the quality of ADCP measurements. Whereas bridges and cableways are usually located in fast, narrow reaches, moving-boat deployments allow measurements at slower locations with less turbulence and bedload movement. Moving-boat deployments also allow split flow measurements in braided and deltaic planforms, suitable for velocity mapping and hydraulic model calibration/verification. However, boat navigation in swiftwater streams can be difficult and hazardous. Long proven on whitewater rivers, catarafts have shallow drafts, large overturning moments, and smooth tracking as a result of their twin, parallel tubes. The inflatable tubes also serve as safety gbumpersh that shield the operator and equipment from contact with shore, ice, and obstacles. Although multiple accidents involving single-hulled boats occurred on a 3-year study of the Susitna River, solo catarafts were used to complete 600 ADCP measurements and survey over 200 cross sections and 10 miles of river bathymetry without incident. The solo catarafts featured a forward instrument mount that creates downpressure with increasing flow resistance. In contrast with tethered ADCPs, this geometry maintains acoustic contact at high flow velocities. The cataraftfs light weight and shallow draft allows flow measurement in depths as small as 1 foot, and its floorless design allows small, symmetrical edge estimates. An on-board digital display allows instantaneous data quality feedback, and combines boat navigation and ADCP operation into a single task. This improves efficiency and avoids shore-based communication and control issues. Perhaps more important, the operatorfs sensory perception of boat performance, together with her direct view of the water, ADCP, and data display allows smooth operation in swiftwater conditions. Because ADCPs substitute the last valid velocity or depth in areas where bed movement, heavy sediment load, or poor GPS reception result in data loss, smooth boat operation is critical on swiftwater rivers. Compass interference can invalidate GPS-based velocities, leaving bottom-tracking as the only valid track reference. Despite an average of 6.4 percent bad bottom-tracking, the average precision of 78 measurements performed in 2014 was 1.6 percent. Instrument bias contributed additional uncertainty, but the excellent precision of the 2014 ADCP measurements is attributed to the smooth boat operation using the cataraft ADCP mount.

The Juniper Creek Hydroelectric Resource: Community-Scale Power in the Alaska Railbelt - David Brailey, Brailey Hydrologic, Anchorage, AK

The Juniper Creek hydroelectric resource is a run]of]river hydroelectric prospect on an alpine tributary of Eagle River near Anchorage, Alaska. Although not large (0.25 to 1.0 MW), the resource could satisfy the needs of the nearby residential development, reduce transmission losses, and lower demand on regional generation systems. A glaciated hanging valley provides year]round flow through a canyon armored with bouldery lag deposits. The lag deposits were formed when landslide debris was eroded by Holocene glacial meltwater flows. Subsurface conduits within the debris conduct piped flows as high as 4 ft3/s. Bouldery stream channels and a preponderance of subsurface flow in the upper watershed causes attenuated runoff peaks with little evidence of overbank flooding or erosion. Together with the steep gradient and absence of fish habitat, these conditions are ideal for run]of]river hydropower development. Stream gaging is underway using dye dilution for year-round discharge measurements. Preliminary results indicate a design flow of 10 ft3/s with a 60% capacity factor for the uppermost privately]owned reach. Lower reaches could provide an additional 750 kW of installed capacity. Although glacial meltwater provides a significant proportion of annual flows, the glaciers do not show signs of rapid retreat or thinning. As a result, meltwater flows should support a 30-to 50-year design life. Current project economics are hampered by the lack of market value for renewable energy, which is priced at the cost of avoided fuel for natural gas-powered generation. In contrast with solar and wind, small hydro offers steady, predictable power without the need for spinning reserves or battery storage.

Remote Sensing of River Discharge and the Stream Gaging Network in Alaska - Jeff Conaway, U.S. Geological Survey, Anchorage, AK (co-authors: D. Bjerklie, J. Jones, R. Mason)

River flow is one of the key indicators of the hydrologic cycle, and mapping the spatial and temporal extent of streamflow is critical to understanding changing hydrologic systems in Alaska. Additionally, streamflow is critical to hydropower development and operation. To fully explore and understand the hydrologic cycle in Alaska and the potential for hydropower, dense spatial coverage of streamgages is needed that capture the diversity of hydrologic regimes in the state. The current USGS streamgaging network in Alaska is relatively sparse by continental US standards, and given difficult access to many rivers in the state, methods to increase the coverage of the gaging network using existing satellite and other remote sensing platforms and hydrologic modeling is needed. This project will test a new USGS landsat based dynamic surface water extent (DSWE) product coupled with satellite altimetry and other satellite and aircraft based imagers to estimate the hydraulic conditions in rivers during the open water season. These data will be used synergistically with a USGS hydrologic model (PRMS) to calibrate the observations and provide fluvial dynamics. Combining the DSWE with data from currently operating satellite altimeters will enable the development of data sets that include satellite observed water surface width, water surface height, and water surface slope in a river reach, thus mimicking what SWOT will see in the future. We will demonstrate and evaluate the application of satellite observations combined with hydrologic modeling to estimate the depth, velocity, and discharge of rivers in Alaska. The objective is to assess directly from existing satellite observations coupled with hydrologic modeling the feasibility of estimating river hydraulic conditions as a supplement to the existing stream gaging network.

An Algorithm for Analyzing Streamwater Specific Conductance Time Series - Daniel Demers, Plymouth State University, Plymouth, NH (co-author: M. Green)

Specific electrical conductance (SpEC) in streamwater indicates the amount of total dissolved solids, and can be continuously measured with in situ sensors. Near the beginning of rain events in certain lotic systems, SpEC will rapidly increase in comparison to its pre-storm values. This increase in a stream's SpEC during rain events is known as a first flush, and is followed by dilution resulting from new rainwater moving quickly through a catchment, then a recovery of SpEC towards pre-storm values. The objective of this study was to develop an algorithm for analyzing the temporal variability of SpEC. We then applied the algorithm to data obtained from two in-situ sensor sites located in a mixed hardwood, forested catchment in central New Hampshire. The characteristics of the SpEC variability were compared to precipitation amount and intensity, inter-storm dryness, and seasonality. We found that both the magnitude of the first flush and the dilution of stream water SpEC was predictable based upon the amount of prior precipitation. Our algorithm should be applicable to other sites with high-frequency streamwater SpEC data, furthering our knowledge of solute movement within different catchments. With climate change related alterations of storm intensity and frequency, and shifting seasonal patterns, this algorithm will help quantify associated changes in water quality.

High-flow Transport of Metals Downstream of Ore Hill Mine, Warren, NH - Brittani Doran, Plymouth State University, Plymouth, NH

Mining poses a serious threat to the quality of water resources (Akcil and Koldas 2006, Lottermoser 2010, Sarmiento et al 2010, Schwarzenbach et al 2010). Byproducts of mining and resulting acid mine drainage (AMD) can irreversibly damage ecosystems by transporting and depositing environmentally-persistent metals (Gray 1997, Septoff 2005). These metals can be a safety concern for both humans and their animal-companions. The Ore Hill deposit in Warren, New Hampshire is a sulfide-type deposit exploited for copper, lead, silver, and zinc from 1834 to 1910. For almost 100 years, the Ore Hill Mine (OHM) was untouched, and discharged untreated AMD into nearby Ore Hill Brook. In 2006, the United States Forest Service made major remediation efforts at OHM in an attempt to reduce AMD and related contaminants entering Ore Hill Brook. Data collected by the USFS has shown a drastic decrease in the concentration of metals in surface water over time but, local areas are still concerned about OHM and its effects on water quality and human/animal safety. This study examined how these persistent metals are transported during high-flow events through the surface water network downstream of Ore Hill Mine, and if any health risks exist. Using a conservative transport mixing model and a tracer (SO4 or Cl), the proportion of water contribution to one output from two converging inputs can be calculated. A prediction of the output concentration can be predicted for a given metal from each calculated input proportion. If the model predicts a concentration close to the measured concentration, the metal is being transported conservatively and the concentration should decrease only as additional tributary inputs cause dilution. During high-flow, this study showed the tracer, SO4, as well as zinc, lead, and copper to be transported conservatively. Within two kilometers from the mine outflow, these metals reach negligible concentrations. No hazard to human or animal health was observed, as high-flow events quickly dilute mine contributions to the stream network. The management of Ore Hill Mine by the USFS has been successful in decreasing acid mine drainage inputs into Ore Hill Brook.

Climate 'Hot Spot' Mapping and Risk Analysis in the Columbia River Basin - Paris Edwards, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID

Warming winter and spring temperatures are a predicted trend for the Columbia River Basin (CRB). The resultant shift from a snow to rain dominant precipitation regime will continue to have broad social, environmental and economic impacts. Throughout the basin, energy production, irrigation, forest and river ecosystem health, recreation and municipal drinking water systems are highly dependent on snowmelt. Expected change in the timing and volume of runoff will impact everyone, but not equally. This research seeks to identify "hotspots" of vulnerability to snow loss, and to assess risk and adaptive capacity at the sub-basin (community) scale. Methods used to identify vulnerable "hotspots" within the CRB include GIS and multivariate statistical analysis. A secondary analysis of adaptive capacity among the high-risk communities further facilitates a targeted approach to prioritizing climate change adaptation tools and resources where they are needed most in the CRB.

Monitoring Strategies for Characterizing Streamwater Inorganic Monomeric Aluminum - Carly Ellis, Plymouth State University, Campton, NH (co-authors: C. Ellis, M. Green, S. Bailey, D. Burchsted)

Certain forms of aluminum (Al), the most abundant metallic element in Earth's crust, are toxic to aquatic organisms. Rural economies in the northeastern US rely on tourist activities such as fishing. As forest managers stock streams, they need to know which sites are not suited for fish survivial. Some unsuitable sites can be determined based on the concentration of toxic Al in streamwater. Five streams in the White Mountain National Forest, NH were monitored for concentrations of Al on a weekly or monthly basis since 2010. Monitoring during 2015 included intensive sampling during snowmelt and precipitation events. Results show highly variable concentrations of toxic Al throughout the year, with concentrations differing by season and flow condition. While toxic Al may double from one season to the next, it can increase even more during a single rain event, depending on conditions. Using the information from our intensive sampling periods, we make recommendations about how to monitor streams for toxic Al levels. We used a bootstrapping method on all six years of samples for each site to determine how many samples are needed to appropriately characterize the site's Al concentrations. Our results may be used to design efficient sampling strategies to most accurately characterize a site for water quality parameters such as dissolved Al, which vary greatly with hydrologic conditions.

Comparison of Snowmelt Hydrographs in Five Watersheds Along the Dalton Highway on the North Slope of Alaska - Alexa Hinzman, Water and Environmental Research Center, UAF, Fairbanks, AK (co-authors: S. Stuefer, C. Arp)

The 2015 spring snowmelt on the North Slope was distinctive from a hydrologic standpoint. The warmer-than-average air temperatures in May caused rapid snowmelt and extensive flooding along the Dalton Highway close to Deadhorse. This presentation sets out to compare snowmelt hydrographs from five watersheds located along the Dalton Highway on the North Slope of Alaska. These watersheds have different sizes, topographic gradient, elevation, and proximity to the ocean and mountains. The examination of specific discharge allows for direct comparison among watersheds of difference sizes. A common feature between these watersheds is continuous permafrost. The region is marked with mountains, rolling hills and flat coastal plains. Selected watersheds (Roche Mountonee, Imnavait Creek, Upper Kuparuk River, Putuligayuk River and Kuparuk River) represent either one of these landscapes or some combination. Roche Mountonee (84 km2) is a high gradient watershed with an average elevation of 927 meters, located in the Brooks Range south of Toolik Lake. Imnavait Creek (2.2 km2) is a small watershed 1 km east of the Upper Kuparuk River gauging site. It is considered to be a north-northwest trending glacial valley in rolling hills. The average elevation of the basin is around 904 meters. Upper Kuparuk watershed (142 km2) is located in the rolling hills with headwaters in the mountains. It has an average elevation of 967 meters. The entire Kuparuk River watershed (8140 km2) contains the mountains and rolling hills but then tapers to the flat coastal plain before it reaches the Arctic Ocean. The flat plains of the Kuparuk Basin never experienced any type of glaciation, meaning it is filled with lakes that are wind-oriented. The last watershed is the Putuligayuk River (471 km2) on the coastal plain of the North Slope with an average elevation of 10 m above sea level. It has the lowest gradient system of them all, with permafrost going as deep at 600 meters. This presentation will summarize the rate, timing and magnitude of snowmelt runoff across these five watersheds.

Calibration of a Hydrological Model for Annual Water Balance Calculation Within a Glacierized Watershed, Eklutna River, Alaska - Johnse Ostman, Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage, AK (co-authors: M.G. Loso, A. Liljedahl, J. E. Geck)

Glacierized basins efficiently produce runoff and buffer periods of variable precipitation. Because of climatic and glacier changes, annual fluvial discharge from these watersheds is changing both in specific quantity and in runoff timing. Natural resource management and hazard forecasting depend on understanding discharge variability and magnitude. The Eklutna River watershed (311 km2), which provides a portion of electricity and most of the domestic water for the municipality of Anchorage, Alaska is split into the glacier]dominated West Fork (64 km2; 46 % ice) and the East Fork (101 km2; 12 % ice). Melt season cumulative runoff from the two forks is comparable, yet despite its smaller basin, the West Fork specific discharge (1970 mm) is greater than that of the less glacierized East Fork (1330 mm). Using weather, glacier mass balance, and surface hydrology data collected by Alaska Pacific University since 2009, plus land cover and soils data, we calibrated the upper Eklutna watershed's annual water budget (above the lake) using the fully distributed deterministic hydrological catchment Water Flow and Balance Simulation Model (WaSiM) for water years 2012]2104. We forced WaSiM with local empirical hourly meteorological data using inverse distance weighted and elevation dependent interpolation methods from a varied spatial station density. Melt season precipitation only accounted for 45 % of the annual total; therefore we extended the record by relating our intra]basin meteorological data, corrected for annual variance, undercatch, and elevation gradient, to the local SNOTEL site and constructed spatially transformed datasets that allowed for more accurate model forcing during periods of missing data. We calibrated the snow and glacier sub]modules in WaSiM with stakes for the modeled winter accumulation at the snow maxima (spring), ablation at snow minima (fall), USGS distributed snow water equivalence (2013 only), and (summer) glacier mass balance. Precipitation and cumulative melt served as the runoff forcing for the annual water balance in each of the two forks. Calibrated WaSiM model results allow for a relative contributions estimate of direct precipitation runoff, snowmelt, ice melt, and groundwater discharge from the primary tributaries to Eklutna Lake. These results enhance our ability to predict the consequences of ongoing climatic and glacier change for Anchorage's water resources.

Multi-Proxy Records of Perennial Snowfield Extent in the Central Brooks Range, Alaska: Implications for environmentally sensitive archaeological artifacts - Molly Tedesche, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK (co-authors: S.R. Fassnacht, A. K. Freeburg, J. T. Rasic, C. Ciancibelli)

Perennial snow and ice fields could be an important archaeological and paleoecological resource for Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in the central Brooks Range mountains of Arctic Alaska. These features may have cultural significance, as prehistoric artifacts may be frozen within the snow and ice. Globally significant discoveries have been made recently as ancient artifacts and animal dung have been found in melting alpine snow and ice patches in the Southern Yukon and Northwest Territories in Canada, the Wrangell mountains in Alaska, as well as in other areas. These sites are melting rapidly, which results in quick decay of biological materials. The summer of 2015 saw historic lows in year round snow cover extent for most of Alaska. Twenty mid to high elevation sites, including eighteen perennial snow and ice fields, and two glaciers, were surveyed in July 2015 to quantify their areal extent. This survey was accomplished by using both low flying aircraft (helicopter), as well as with on the ground in-situ (by foot) measurements. By helicopter, visual surveys were conducted within tens of meters of the surface. Sites visited by foot were surveyed for extent of snow and ice coverage, melt water hydrologic parameters and chemistry, and initial estimates of depths and delineations between snow, firn, and ice. Imagery from both historic aerial photography and from 5m resolution IKONOS satellite information were correlated with the field data. Initial results indicate good agreement in permanent snow and ice cover between field surveyed data and the 1985 to 2011 Landsat imagery-based Northwest Alaska snow persistence map created by Macander et al. (2015). The most deviation between the Macander, et al. model and the field surveyed results typically occurred as an overestimate of perennial extent on the steepest aspects. These differences are either a function of image classification or due to accelerated ablation rates in perennial snow and ice coverage between 2011 and 2015. Further work is ongoing to develop a model to guide archaeological and paleoecological snow and ice field surveys. This work will entail a fine scale, empirically based, model of accumulation and ablation to estimate changes in three dimensional geometries of historically perennial arctic alpine snow and ice fields in the study area.

Sedimentation Rates and Channel Response to Gravel Mining on the Sagavanirktok River, Alaska - Timothy Tschetter, UAF, Fairbanks, AK (co-authors: H.Toniolo, J. Keech)

Gravel mined from the Sagavanirktok River has been used to construct and maintain the northern extent of the Dalton Highway and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has recently initiated a study to investigate the sedimentation rates of instream gravel pits at various sites along the Sagavanirktok River. We will present preliminary results from summer 2015 field work that included the excavation of seven test pits that will act as sediment traps during future competent flow events. We will also present measured suspended sediment concentrations recorded during the summer of 2015, and stream bed sediment particle size distributions. Long-term channel response to gravel mining will be evaluated using repeat aerial photography of the Happy Valley Material Site, where approximately 350,000 cubic yards of gravel was extracted during the summers of 2008 and 2009.

Assessment of Environmental Impacts in Coastal Regions of Malaysia (Port-Dickson & Penang) - Longinus Enyeribe Ugochukwu Iwuh, Kolej Gemilang, MANTIN, Malaysia (co-authors: T. J. Deepak, M. Hayat Khan)

Port-Dickson has a total coastline of 25km while Penang has a total coastline of 126.7km along the Island. The coastal areas of Port-Dickson and Penang respectively host a wide range of diverse habitats, including some of the most productive ecosystem in terms of goods and services. Human activities around these two regions poses direct and indirect impacts to the regions which are threats to the coastal areas of Port-Dickson and Penang. Such human activities includes but not limited to; building of Sea walls, Revetments, Jetties, and Oil Platforms etc. These structures and their related activities, both social and economic, have contributed to adverse effects on the coastal areas of Port-Dickson and Penang respectively. As a result, over the years, there has been a gradual introduction of environmental legislation and management tools, in an attempt to regulate impacts in the respective coastal regions. Assessing the environmental impacts resulting from the coastal development of Port-Dickson and Penang have initially been the subject of my research work. Hence, much work was put on improving an understanding on how Environmental Impacts Assessment within these two regions will accelerate better coastal zone management. Consequently, questions to investigate came up. These questions includes but not limited to: - What are the importance of these two coastal regions? - What are the needs for the respective coastal zones and its water resources to be properly managed? - What are the direct and indirect impacts resulting from coastal development to these coastal regions? - How can the effectiveness of Environmental Impact Assessment be crucial in promoting sustainable coastal development in the regions? - How can Rapid Impact Assessment Matrix (RIAM) as a tool be used to analyze, compare and rank the impacts resulting from the coastal development of these two regions? The objectives of this research work are in four- folds: 1. To investigate the direct and indirect impacts to the physical & chemical (PC) issues, biological and ecological (BE) issues, social and cultural (SC) issues and economic and operational (EO) issues of Port-Dickson and Penang respectively resulting from the development on their respective coastal regions. 2. Compare these impacts using an Environmental Impact Assessment tool (RIAM). 3. Analyze and rank the impacts using (RIAM). 4. Finally, to provide remedies/recommendations to curb the situation. My research work adopted different methods to gather reliable data. The views of environmental and coastal pundits were examined closely using a questionnaire survey and a series of interviews. Data from the questionnaires and interviews were analyzed and ranked using an Environmental Impact Assessment tool called (RIAM). The results from the tool analysis showed the level of impacts from the respective coastal regions. These impacts were compared and remedies/recommendation were provided.

Predictors of River Ice Breakup Flooding Severity on the Yukon River in Interior Alaska: an Examination of the Past 15 Years - Celine van Breukelen, National Weather Service, Anchorage, AK

On the major interior rivers of Alaska, spring river ice breakup is the single largest annual flood threat and can result in fatalities in addition to millions of dollars of damages. Unlike freeze up, which is a gradual, months-long progression, breakup is generally a quick process during which an entire winter's worth of ice lifts and can move downstream in a short time frame (hours to days). Breakup types range between thermal and dynamic. A thermal breakup is relatively slow; ice degrades in place before moving downstream. A dynamic breakup is quicker; the ice is relatively strong before the breakup front moves past. Severe breakup flooding is typically a result of a dynamic breakup. Because the ice has not yet deteriorated, large, strong sheets of ice become jammed on islands, river bends, or other ice sheets, creating an ice jam. The water levels behind an ice jam can rise rapidly and with little warning. This study documents and analyzes the last 15 years of breakup on the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers. The record of historical events was compiled from Alaska Pacific River Forecast Center (APRFC) and Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab (CRREL) databases as well as media resources. Using the historical records, an annual severity index was assigned to encompass the severity of flooding and the number of affected communities. Three factors were analyzed with their relation to breakup flooding: rate of thaw derived from temperature data, end of season snowpack, and river stage at freeze up. The role of the each of these factors was analyzed to further understand the mechanism of breakup and to enhance forecasting of flood severity.

Climate and Hydropower Variability in the Andes Mountains - Jose Vergara, Buentiempo Ltda, Santiago, Chile

In Chile the water regulation capacity for the agriculture, hydropower, water supply system, resides in the rainfall and snow accumulated in the the top of mountain (>3.000 m. Above s. l.). Any variation in snowfall and rainfall amounts, air temperature, impact the river flow and produced a significant impact on the national economy. This work aims to evaluate of climatic long term variation over hydropower production. The current analysis uses monthly time series of snowfall, rainfall, temperature and river discharge of meteorological station located in Chilean Andes Mountains and Patagonia. The period of study covers meteorological record of the last 100 years and 50 years of hidropower energy production. The time series analysis for rainfall, snowfall, river dischage and air temperature over the high-elevation Andes mountain (> 2000m. above s. l.), show a strong natural interannual variability from El Nino and La Nina events and long term variability (~30 years) asociated with very dried and raining years, but not significant linear trends is observed.