Sand and Gravel Mining in the Brazos River: An Assessment of Erosion Potential and Economic Impact

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1996

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This work was undertaken at the request of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to assess the potential for increased erosion in the Brazos River channel caused by sand and gravel mining as well as to evaluate the economic importance of sand and gravel mining. The potential for increased erosion was assessed by examining the history of channel meandering for river segments upstream, within, and downstream of the area of sand and gravel mining. Point and channel bars were mapped and sampled in river segments that are upstream, within, and downstream of the area of sand and gravel mining. Natural levee and floodplain sediments were cored and sampled for segments upstream, within, and downstream of the area of sand and gravel mining. The size and number of meanders as well as the amount of lateral movement of meanders over time decrease downstream through the study area. This indicates that sand and gravel mining has not resulted in recognizable increases in regional erosion. Grain-size analyses of sediment samples from river bars show little change in the texture of these sediments, indicating that sand and gravel mining has had no recognizable effect on grain-size distribution of the sediments that make up river bars.

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