Project Title: Upland river management and sustainability under a changing environment: thinking outside the reach-scale box
My research interests are focused on the interactions between sediment, flow and channel morphology in upland river systems. Upland regions occupy one third of Britain and are defined by their high elevations, mountainous topographies and high rainfall totals. These regions support livelihoods, such as farming and tourism, and an abundance of wildlife.
Upland rivers are characterised by steep valley slopes, flashy discharge regimes, erodible banks and a high supply of coarse sediment. As a result, river channel morphology (width, depth and sinuosity) in these environments is continually changing. Changes to channel morphology are an important management concern because sedimentation and erosion on the riverbed and banks can: alter flood risk, lead to the loss of valuable land and affect the boundaries of land ownership, damage infrastructure and affect habitat diversity. Furthermore, these concerns are likely to be amplified with changes in river water discharge due to climate change.
My PhD research aims to take a catchment scale assessment of erosion and sedimentation patterns in upland river channels over different timescales. Understanding this is fundamental for targeting sustainable management actions within these river systems.
My research is focused on upland rivers in the Lake District National Park. Sedimentation and erosion in rivers here, and the recent flooding has had negative impacts on communities, tourism and the economy. Hence, the challenge is to take larger spatial and longer time scale perspectives of the processes controlling these systems to help inform future management actions.
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