Connectivity in River Corridors

Along the Colorado River in Grand Canyon, sediment moves between the active channel, near-channel sandbars, and upland aeolian dunefields. Photo by Joel Sankey, USGS.

River corridors are more than the river itself; the landforms that make up river systems include the active channel, floodplains, terraces, and uplands. Shaped by flowing water, overbank floods, and wind, these landforms represent the exchange, or connectivity, of sediment as it transits within the river system. My work uses GIS/Remote Sensing techniques to understand how sediment moves between the active channel and upland landscapes in dryland rivers across the Southwest, in particular the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. Over the past several years, I’ve been working with colleagues at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Southwest Biological Science Center to use ground-based lidar, multibeam sonar, and aerial photogrammetry to track the evolution of landforms along the Colorado River and to understand how sediment connectivity is linked back to the flood regime of this highly-managed dryland waterway.

Alan Kasprak
Alan Kasprak
Assistant Professor of Geoscience

I study river processes and management through the lens of GIS and remote sensing.