South Saskatchewan River

Bedforms and channels

Strong winds in the winter have blown the exposed sand into large aeolian dunes. The research team is exploring the floodplain looking for channels that would be good survey candidates. Ripples and dunes exposed during the early afternoon as stage falls prior to a late afternoon rise during power generation. Young Plains Cottonwood trees try to survive in the harsh environment of an exposed sand bar. Cross-beds exposed in a cutbank showing a trend of larger dunes at the bottom progessing to smaller and smaller dunes and eventually ripples near the top. Ripples and small dunes abandoned beside the main channel when stage drops in the morning. Unit bars visible in the channel moving downstream into deeper water. Mid-channel bar being eroded by a small side-channel. A bar-top hollow preserved in a compound bar deposit along the South Saskatchewan River.

Research Team

Work on the River

The research team as seen from the air and the DJI Phantom. Chris Unsworth pleased to be running the computer as opposed to wading in the chilly South Saskatchewan. Jim Best in his happy place watching bedform development. Necessary early evening headware to ward off the mosquitos modelled by Dan whilst out surveying GCPs. Stuart and Greg wait their turn at pulling the aDcp across the channel. Deep thinking is occurring whilst waiting for the stage to rise before another round of aDcp measurements begins. Inspection and planning survey locations on the first day in the field. A few thousand mosquitos were sacrificed on the way to the field site. Equipment storage begins to slowly take over the hotel room.

Field Work

UAV and surveying

Puzzled looks trying to figure out why the dGPS isn't working. Might have something to do with being inside a building!. dGPS base station location overlooking the main project study reach. Andrew is preparing GCP targets for the aerial photo flight. Portable battery recharging station for the DJI Phantom. This enabled us to charge batteries in the field and get in additional flights. The DJI Phantom is ready to fly. Stuart is placing GCPs on the left bank of the UAV study area. A GCP and M9 repeat survey cross-section marker. Chris Simpson flies a survey grid with the DJI Phantom. Chris Simpson programming a flight pattern for the eBee RTK UAV. Chris Unsworth and Dan Parsons securing the boat for the short journey to the river. GPS base station majectically perched on the valley top at the downstream end of the study reach. Another successful launch of the eBee RTK UAV by Andrew Nicholas.

Flow Monitoring

Andrew and Phil pulling the M9 aDcp across a section. Each section was repeated multiple times to ensure consistent results. Chris Unsworth and Phil set-up and test the instruments on the rig in shallow water before going deep. Chris Unsworth secures the aDcp to the boat prior to beginning a discharge survey. Setting up the sampling rig in a deeper (and much colder) location. Downloading data after leaving the sampling rig running continuously overnight. Andy Manning injecting a water sample into a settling chamber where a high speed camera records the fall of suspended sediment. Setting up the M9 ADCP and AQUAscat for some detailed flow field mapping. Setting up the sampling rig in a very active dune field. Active dunes visible through the water column whose flow fields were monitored continuously for 24-hours. Measuring discharge across the various channels. Greg Sambrook Smith takes a bed-material sample while Phil Ashworth records the dGPS location. Gathering repeat ADCP profiles across a section. Andrew demonstrates the base of the bar while Greg stands on top.