Date of Award
Master of Science
Geography and Environmental Resources
This study documents the stage adjustments in the Lower White River between 1931 and 2012 at four rated gaging stations along the trunk stem of the river. The study reach extends from Calico Rock, Arkansas, to the confluence of the White River with the Mississippi River north of Arkansas City, a distance of about 509 km. The specific gage approach was used to track hydrological response in the study reach. In order to approach spatial homogeneity across the four gaging locations along the study reach, input discharges were normalized to multiples of mean daily flow (MDF). Specific gage analysis tracks water surface elevation changes for fixed discharge conditions over time. Three discharges were analyzed at each station: low flow, mean flow, and high flow. The low flow specific gage trends are emphasized to highlight degradation and aggradation due to the sensitivity of specific stages at low flows to channel bed elevation changes. An `enhanced interpolation' technique was used to fill gaps in the specific stage time series in order to avoid errors derived from extrapolation of annual rating curves. The analysis shows decreasing trends in specific stage at Clarendon and DeValls Bluff at low flows, indicating net degradation. The gages at Newport and Calico Rock show increasing trends in specific stage over time at low flows, indicating aggradation downstream of Norfork and Bull Shoals reservoirs.
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