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  1. Abstract

    The impacts of aquatic vegetation on bed load transport rate and bedform characteristics were quantified using flume measurements with model emergent vegetation. First, a model for predicting the turbulent kinetic energy,kt, in vegetated channels from channel average velocityUand vegetation volume fractionϕwas validated for mobile sediment beds. Second, using data from several studies, the predictedktwas shown to be a good predictor of bed load transport rate,Qs, allowingQsto be predicted fromUandϕfor vegetated channels. The control ofQsbyktwas explained by statistics of individual grain motion recorded by a camera, which showed that the number of sediment grains in motion per bed area was correlated withkt. Third, ripples were observed and characterized in channels with and without model vegetation. For low vegetation solid volume fraction (ϕ ≤ 0.012), the ripple wavelength was constrained by stem spacing. However, at higher vegetation solid volume fraction (ϕ=0.025), distinct ripples were not observed, suggesting a transition to sheet flow, which is sediment transport over a plane bed without the formation of bedforms. The fraction of the bed load flux carried by migrating ripples decreased with increasingϕ, again suggesting that vegetation facilitated the formation of sheet flow.

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