Spatial variability in the timing, nature and extent of channel response to typical human disturbance along the Upper Hunter River, New South Wales, Australia

Joanna Hoyle*, Andrew Brooks, Gary Brierley, Kirstie Fryirs, James Lander

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    43 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Prior to European settlement, the Upper Hunter River near Muswellbrook, New South Wales, was a passively meandering gravel-bed river of moderate sinuosity and relatively uniform channel width. Analyses of floodplain sedimentology, archival records, parish maps and aerial photographs document marked spatial variability in the pattern of channel change since European settlement in the 1820s. Different types, rates and extents of change are reported for seven zones of adjustment along an 8 km study reach. This variable adjustment reflects imposed antecedent controls (buried terrace material and bedrock), which have significantly influenced local variability in river sensitivity to change, as well as contemporary morphodynamics and geomorphic complexity. Local variability in system responses to disturbance has important implications for future river management and rehabilitation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)868-889
    Number of pages22
    JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
    Volume33
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - May 2008

    Keywords

    • river change
    • human impacts
    • sensitivity
    • lagged responses
    • within-reach variability

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