WIT Press

Medium Term Fluvial Island Evolution In Relation With Flood Events In The Piave River


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161 - 172




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L. Picco, L. Mao, E. Rigon, J. Moretto, D. Ravazzolo, F. Delai & M. A. Lenzi


River islands could be defined as discrete areas of woodland vegetation surrounded by either water-filled channels or exposed gravel which exhibits some stability, and remain exposed during bunk-full flows. Islands are important from morphological, functional, and ecological points of view. The aim of the present study is to analyze the dynamics of stable, young and pioneer islands in the Piave River, which suffered intense and multiple human impacts especially due to dam building and in-channel gravel mining. Plan-form changes of river features from 1960 were analyzed using aerial photos, and a LiDAR was used to derive the maximum, minimum and mean elevation of island surfaces and the maximum and mean height of the island vegetation. The results suggest that stable islands lie at higher elevation than young and pioneer islands, and are characterized by a thicker layer of fine sediments deposited on their surfaces after big floods. There was a progressive decrease in the active corridor area from 1960 to 2006. After the 1966 exceptional flood (RI> 200 years) there was a moderate increase of island extend and numbers, followed by a further increase from 1991, due to a succession of flood events, in 1993 and 2002 with RI> 10 years, as well as a change in the anthropic management characterized by a control relating to mining activities. The narrowing trend (1960-1999) of the morphological plan-form, certainly enhanced the chance of the island to become stable and this explains the reduction of active channel, the increase of stable island and the reduction of pioneer island. Even though a general channel


river islands, gravel bed rivers, floods, Piave River, Italy