Suspended sediment monitoring in alluvial gullies: A laboratory and field evaluation of available measurement techniques

Nicholas J.C. Doriean, Andrew P. Brooks, Peter R. Teasdale, David T. Welsh, William W. Bennett*

*Kontaktforfatter for dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Gully erosion is a significant source of fine suspended sediment (<63 μm) and associated nutrient pollution to freshwater and marine waterways. Researchers, government agencies, and monitoring groups are currently using monitoring methods designed for streams and rivers (e.g., autosamplers, rising stage samplers, and turbidity loggers) to evaluate suspended sediment in gullies. This is potentially problematic because gullies have several hydrological features and monitoring operational challenges that differ to those of continually flowing streams and rivers (e.g., short and intense flows, high suspended sediment concentrations, and rapid scouring and aggradation). Here we present a laboratory and field-based assessment of the performance of common suspended sediment monitoring techniques applied to gullies. We also evaluate a recently-described method; the pumped active suspended sediment (PASS) sampler, which has been modified for monitoring suspended sediment in gully systems. Discrete autosampling provided data at high temporal resolution, however, it had poor collection efficiency (25 ± 10%) of coarser sediment particles (i.e., sand). Rising stage sampling, while robust and cost-effective, suffered from large amounts of condensation under field conditions (25–35% of sampler volume), due to harsh climatic conditions creating large diurnal temperature differences at the field site, thereby diluting sample concentrations and introducing additional measurement uncertainty. The turbidity logger exhibited a highly variable response when calibrated at each site with physically collected suspended sediment samples (R2 = 0.17–0.83), highlighting that this approach should be used with caution. The modified PASS sampler proved to be a reliable and representative measurement method for gully sediment water quality, however, the time-integrated nature of the method limits its temporal resolution compared to the other monitoring methods. We recommend monitoring suspended sediment in alluvial gully systems using a combination of complementary techniques (e.g., PASS and RS samplers) to account for the limitations associated with individual methods.

TidsskriftHydrological Processes
Udgave nummer16
Sider (fra-til)3426-3438
Antal sider13
StatusUdgivet - 30. jul. 2020
Udgivet eksterntJa


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