Advertisement

Effects of river infrastructures on the floodplain sedimentary environment in the Rhône River

  • Sophia VauclinEmail author
  • Brice Mourier
  • Alvaro Tena
  • Hervé Piégay
  • Thierry Winiarski
Sediments as a Dynamic Natural Resource – From Catchment to Open Sea
  • 55 Downloads

Abstract

Purpose

River infrastructures such as dikes, groynes, and dams are ubiquitous on most large rivers, and although their consequences on the riverbed morphology have often been studied, the effect they might have on the river floodplain and margins remains largely unknown. By investigating the structure and composition of floodplain sediments in three areas along the Rhône River that were extensively engineered during the last 150 years, this paper aims to understand whether river infrastructures might systematically induce a change in sedimentation patterns in the river margins.

Materials and methods

A total of fifteen sediment cores were sampled in three distinct reaches of the Rhône valley downstream of Lyon. They were thoroughly analyzed in terms of grain size, using heatmap representations and end-member analysis. Six metallic elements (Zn, Cr, Pb, Cu, Ni, Cd) were systematically quantified. In six out of the fifteen cores, total organic carbon (TOC), organic contaminants (PCBs) concentrations, and 137Cs activity were also assessed.

Results and discussion

A sharp change in grain size distribution is consistently identified in the sediment cores of all three study reaches. The sediments above this change are fine (D50 < 100 μm), poorly classified and homogenous. They also show a relative increase in contamination when compared with deeper sediments. We interpret this change in sediment characteristics as the consequence of an abrupt decrease in connectivity between the floodplain and the river channel, likely due to the implementation of navigation infrastructures in the channel in the second half of the nineteenth century. In one case, the dating of the sediment cores allows linking the grain size change to the implementation of navigation infrastructures in the channel. In the other study areas, the effect of engineering seems delayed in time due to local variability.

Conclusions

The implementation of river infrastructures resulted in a loss of connectivity between the floodplain and the channel. This was reflected as the homogenization of the floodplain sedimentary environment of the Rhône River all along its course from Lyon to the sea. A similar phenomenon might be present in most engineered rivers across Europe.

Keywords

Connectivity Floodplain Rhône River River infrastructures Sediment cores 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was conducted in the combined frameworks of (i) the Rhône Sediment Observatory (OSR), a multi-partner research program funded through the Plan Rhône by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Agence de l'eau RMC, CNR, EDF, and three regional councils (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, PACA and Occitanie), and (ii) the EUR H2O’Lyon (ANR-17-EURE-0018) of Université de Lyon (UdL), within the program “Investissements d'Avenir” operated by the French National Research Agency (ANR).

Supplementary material

11368_2019_2449_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (679 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 679 kb)

References

  1. Abril JM, San Miguel EG, Ruiz-Canovas C et al (2018) From floodplain to aquatic sediments: radiogeochronological fingerprints in a sediment core from the mining impacted Sancho Reservoir (SW Spain). Sci Total Environ 631–632:866–878CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Amiard J-C, Meunier T, Babut M (2016) PCB, environnement et santé. Lavoisier, ParisGoogle Scholar
  3. Antonelli C, Eyrolle F, Rolland B, Provansal M, Sabatier F (2008) Suspended sediment and 137Cs fluxes during the exceptional December 2003 flood in the Rhone River, Southeast France. Geomorphology 95:350–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Arnaud-Fassetta G (2003) River channel changes in the Rhone Delta (France) since the end of the Little Ice Age: geomorphological adjustment to hydroclimatic change and natural resource management. Catena 51:141–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Audry S, Schäfer J, Blanc G, Jouanneau J-M (2004) Fifty-year sedimentary record of heavy metal pollution (Cd, Zn, Cu, Pb) in the Lot River reservoirs (France). Environ Pollut 132:413–426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blott SJ, Pye K (2001) GRADISTAT: a grain size distribution and statistics package for the analysis of unconsolidated sediments. Earth Surf Process Landf 26:1237–1248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bravard J-P, Landon N, Peiry J-L, Piégay H (1999) Principles of engineering geomorphology for managing channel erosion and bedload transport, examples from French rivers. Geomorphology 31:291–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Breivik K, Sweetman A, Pacyna JM, Jones KC (2002) Towards a global historical emission inventory for selected PCB congeners — a mass balance approach: 1. Global production and consumption. Sci Total Environ 290:181–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brown A, Toms P, Carey C, Rhodes E (2013) Geomorphology of the anthropocene: time-transgressive discontinuities of human-induced alluviation. Anthropocene 1:3-13Google Scholar
  10. Brown AG, Lespez L, Sear DA, Macaire JJ, Houben P, Klimek K, Brazier RE, van Oost K, Pears B (2018) Natural vs anthropogenic streams in Europe: history, ecology and implications for restoration, river-rewilding and riverine ecosystem services. Earth-Sci Rev 180:185–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Buczyńska E, Szlauer-Łukaszewska A, Czachorowski S, Buczyński P (2018) Human impact on large rivers: the influence of groynes of the River Oder on larval assemblages of caddisflies (Trichoptera). Hydrobiologia 819:177–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Carrie J, Sanei H, Goodarzi F, Stern G, Wang F (2009) Characterization of organic matter in surface sediments of the Mackenzie River Basin, Canada. Int J Coal Geol 77:416–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Carrie J, Sanei H, Stern G (2012) Standardisation of Rock–Eval pyrolysis for the analysis of recent sediments and soils. Org Geochem 46:38–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cossa D, Fanget A-S, Chiffoleau J-F, Bassetti MA, Buscail R, Dennielou B, Briggs K, Arnaud M, Guédron S, Berné S (2018) Chronology and sources of trace elements accumulation in the Rhône pro-delta sediments (Northwestern Mediterranean) during the last 400years. Prog Oceanogr 163:161–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Csiki SJ, Rhoads BL (2014) Influence of four run-of-river dams on channel morphology and sediment characteristics in Illinois, USA. Geomorphology 206:215–229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dépret T, Riquier J, Piégay H (2017) Evolution of abandoned channels: insights on controlling factors in a multi-pressure river system. Geomorphology 294:99–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Desmet M, Mourier B, Mahler BJ, van Metre PC, Roux G, Persat H, Lefèvre I, Peretti A, Chapron E, Simonneau A, Miège C, Babut M (2012) Spatial and temporal trends in PCBs in sediment along the lower Rhône River, France. Sci Total Environ 433:189–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dhivert E, Grosbois C, Courtin-Nomade A, Bourrain X, Desmet M (2016) Dynamics of metallic contaminants at a basin scale — spatial and temporal reconstruction from four sediment cores (Loire fluvial system, France). Sci Total Environ 541:1504–1515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dietze E, Hartmann K, Diekmann B, IJmker J, Lehmkuhl F, Opitz S, Stauch G, Wünnemann B, Borchers A (2012) An end-member algorithm for deciphering modern detrital processes from lake sediments of Lake Donggi Cona, NE Tibetan Plateau, China. Sediment Geol 243–244:169–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dietze M, Dietze E, Lomax J, Fuchs M, Kleber A, Wells S (2016) Environmental history recorded in aeolian deposits under stone pavements, Mojave Desert, USA. Quat Res 85:4–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Donovan M, Miller A, Baker M (2016) Reassessing the role of milldams in Piedmont floodplain development and remobilization. Geomorphology 268:133–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Entwistle NS, Heritage GL, Schofield LA, Williamson RJ (2019) Recent changes to floodplain character and functionality in England. Catena 174:490–498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ferrand E, Eyrolle F, Radakovitch O, Provansal M, Dufour S, Vella C, Raccasi G, Gurriaran R (2012) Historical levels of heavy metals and artificial radionuclides reconstructed from overbank sediment records in lower Rhône River (South-East France). Geochim Cosmochim Acta 82:163–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Francis CW, Brinkley FS (1976) Preferential adsorption of 137Cs to micaceous minerals in contaminated freshwater sediment. Nat 260:511–513CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gaydou P (2013) Schéma directeur de ré-activation de la dynamique fluviale des marges du Rhône. Rapport de synthèse OSR. Lyon.Google Scholar
  26. Giglou AN, Mccorquodale JA, Solari L (2017) Numerical study on the effect of the spur dikes on sedimentation pattern. Ain Shams Engineer J 9:2055–2067Google Scholar
  27. Habersack H, Hein T, Stanica A, Liska I, Mair R, Jäger E, Hauer C, Bradley C (2016) Challenges of river basin management: current status of, and prospects for, the River Danube from a river engineering perspective. Sci Total Environ 543:828–845CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Heritage G, Entwistle NS, Bentley S (2016) Floodplains: the forgotten and abused component of the fluvial system. E3S Web Conf 7.  https://doi.org/10.1051/e3sconf/20160713007
  29. Howard AJ, Coulthard TJ, Knight D (2017) The potential impact of green agendas on historic river landscapes: numerical modelling of multiple weir removal in the Derwent Valley Mills world heritage site. UK Geomorphology 293:37–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. James LA (2017) Arrested geomorphic trajectories and the long-term hidden potential for change. J Environ Manag 202:412–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Johnson KM, Snyder NP, Castle S, Hopkins AJ, Waltner M, Merritts DJ, Walter RC (2018) Legacy sediment storage in New England river valleys: anthropogenic processes in a postglacial landscape. Geomorphology 327:417–437CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Karickhoff SW, Brown DS, Scott TA (1979) Sorption of hydrophobic pollutants on natural sediments. Water Res 13:241–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Le Cloarec M-F, Bonte PH, Lestel L et al (2011) Sedimentary record of metal contamination in the Seine River during the last century. Physics Chem Earth, Parts A/B/C 36:515–529CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lehotský M, Novotný J, Szmańda JB, Grešková A (2010) A suburban inter-dike river reach of a large river: modern morphological and sedimentary changes (the Bratislava reach of the Danube River, Slovakia). Geomorphology 117:298–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lewin J (2013) Enlightenment and the GM floodplain. Earth Surf Process Landf 38:17–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. MacDonald DD, Ingersoll CG, Berger TA (2000) Development and evaluation of consensus-based sediment quality guidelines for freshwater ecosystems. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 39:20–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Magilligan FJ (1992) Sedimentology of a fine-grained aggrading floodplain. Geomorphology 4:393–408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Merritts D, Walter R, Rahnis M, Hartranft J, Cox S, Gellis A, Potter N, Hilgartner W, Langland M, Manion L, Lippincott C, Siddiqui S, Rehman Z, Scheid C, Kratz L, Shilling A, Jenschke M, Datin K, Cranmer E, Reed A, Matuszewski D, Voli M, Ohlson E, Neugebauer A, Ahamed A, Neal C, Winter A, Becker S (2011) Anthropocene streams and base-level controls from historic dams in the unglaciated mid-Atlantic region, USA. Phil Trans Royal Soc London A: Math, Phys Eng Sci 369:976–1009CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Meybeck M, Lestel L, Bonté P, Moilleron R, Colin JL, Rousselot O, Hervé D, de Pontevès C, Grosbois C, Thévenot DR (2007) Historical perspective of heavy metals contamination (Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Pb, Zn) in the Seine River basin (France) following a DPSIR approach (1950–2005). Sci Total Environ 375:204–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Meyers PA (1997) Organic geochemical proxies of paleoceanographic, paleolimnologic, and paleoclimatic processes. Org Geochem 27:213–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Michelot J-L (1983) Evolution des paysages fluviaux de la vallée du Rhône dans le secteur du Péage-de-Roussillon. Géocarrefour 58:307–322Google Scholar
  42. Mourier B, Desmet M, Van Metre PC, Perrodin Y, Roux C, Bedell JC, Lefèvre I, Babut M (2014) Historical records, sources, and spatial trends of PCBs along the Rhône River (France). Sci Total Environ 476:568–576CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Ollivier P, Radakovitch O, Hamelin B (2011) Major and trace element partition and fluxes in the Rhône River. Chem Geol 285:15–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Parrot E (2015) Analyse spatio-temporelle de la morphologie du chenal du Rhône du Léman à la Méditerranée. Dissertation. University of Lyon, FranceGoogle Scholar
  45. Passmore DG, Macklin MG (1994) Provenance of fine-grained alluvium and late Holocene land-use change in the Tyne basin, northern England. Geomorphology 9:127–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Petit F, Poinsart D, Bravard J-P (1996) Channel incision, gravel mining and bedload transport in the Rhône river upstream of Lyon, France (“canal de Miribel”). Catena 26:209–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pinglot JF, Pourchet M (1995) Radioactivity measurements applied to glaciers and lake sediments. Sci Total Environ 173–174:211–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Poeppl RE, Keesstra SD, Hein T (2015) The geomorphic legacy of small dams—an Austrian study. Anthropocene 10:43–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Provansal M, Dufour S, Sabatier F, Anthony E, Raccasi G, Robresco S (2014) The geomorphic evolution and sediment balance of the lower Rhône River (southern France) over the last 130years: hydropower dams versus other control factors. Geomorphology 219:27–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Przedwojski B (1995) Bed topography and local scour in rivers with banks protected by groynes. J Hydraul Res 33:257–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Räpple B (2018) Sedimentation patterns and riparian vegetation characteristics in novel ecosystems on the Rhône River, France: A comparative approach to identify drivers and evaluate ecological potentials. Dissertation. University of Lyon, FranceGoogle Scholar
  52. Ritchie JC, McHenry JR (1990) Application of radioactive fallout cesium-137 for measuring soil erosion and sediment accumulation rates and patterns: a review. J Environ Qual 19:215–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Savić R, Ondrašek G, Bezdan A, Letić L, Nikolić V (2013) Fluvial deposition in groyne fields of the middle course of the Danube River. Tehnički vjesnik 20:979–983Google Scholar
  54. Steinmann P, Adatte T, Lambert P (2003) Recent changes in sedimentary organic matter from Lake Neuchâtel (Switzerland) as traced by Rock-Eval pyrolysis. In: Beres M, Scheidhauer M, Marillier F (eds) Lake systems from the ice age to industrial time. Birkhäuser Basel, Basel, pp 109–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Surian N, Rinaldi M (2003) Morphological response to river engineering and management in alluvial channels in Italy. Geomorphology 50:307–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Syvitski JPM, Kettner A (2011) Sediment flux and the Anthropocene. Phil Trans Royal Soc of London A: Math Phys Eng Sci 369:957–975CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Tena A, Seignemartin G, Roux G, Winiarski T, Piégay H (2017) Factors controlling groyne-field sedimentation and contamination along the Rhône River. Presented at the 3rd International Conference on the Status and Future of the World’s large rivers, New Delhi, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  58. Tockner K, Uehlinger U, Robinson CT (2009) Rivers of Europe. ElsevierGoogle Scholar
  59. Toonen WHJ, Winkels TG, Cohen KM, Prins MA, Middelkoop H (2015) Lower Rhine historical flood magnitudes of the last 450years reproduced from grain-size measurements of flood deposits using end member modelling. Catena 130:69–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Vázquez-Tarrío D, Tal M, Camenen B, Piégay H (2019) Effects of continuous embankments and successive run-of-the-river dams on bedload transport capacities along the Rhône River, France. Sci Total Environ 658:1375–1389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Walter RC, Merritts DJ (2008) Natural streams and the legacy of water-powered mills. Sci 319:299–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Weltje GJ, Prins MA (2003) Muddled or mixed? Inferring paleoclimate from size distributions of deep-sea clastics. Sediment Geol 162:39–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Weltje GJ, Prins MA (2007) Genetically meaningful decomposition of grain-size distributions. Sediment Geol 202:409–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wen X, Du Q, Tang H (1998) Surface complexation model for the heavy metal adsorption on natural sediment. Environ Sci Technol 32:870–875CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Zawiejska J, Wyżga B (2010) Twentieth-century channel change on the Dunajec River, southern Poland: patterns, causes and controls. Geomorphology 117:234–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNRS UMR 5023 Laboratoire d’Ecologie des Hydrosystèmes Naturels et AnthropisésUniversité Lyon 1 - ENTPEVaulx-en-VelinFrance
  2. 2.CNRS UMR 5600 Environnement Ville et Société (EVS)Université Lyon 3 - ENSLyonFrance

Personalised recommendations