USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station
Pacific Southwest
Research Station

800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011
(510) 883-8830
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

Research Topics

Water & Watersheds: Fine Sediment in Pools

Notes and comments on measuring V*:

Pool definitions
  1. A pool is outlined by its residual water surface, so backwaters with connections deeper than the riffle crest depth should be included in the pool.
  2. Areas under undercut banks, logs, logjams & etc are also part of the pool. The easiest way to measure these places is often with a short stick.

Measurement hints
  1. If there are logs, wood, or rock outcrops occupying part of the water column at your measurement spot, the part of those objects that is in the residual pool should be subtracted from the water depth.
    1. if the obstructions are entirely below riffle crest depth, measure actual water depth and subtract the height of the object.
    2. if the obstruction extends from the surface to below riffle crest depth, measure the actual water depth in the water column and add riffle crest depth.
    3. if the obstruction is entirely above riffle crest depth, measure water depth to the pool water surface.
  2. Watch for soft saturated bank material near pool edges. This is most often a problem when there are fluvially deposited sediments near the bank. Dig up a sample and feel with your rod as you push through, and only record the depth of fluvially deposited fine sediment.
  3. If a fines deposit includes a high percent of organic matter (leaves, sticks, etc), estimate the percent of the volume that's organics and record the depth as that percent of the actual depth (ie you measured 0.22 m of fines but it's half organics, record fines depth of 0.11 m).
  4. If there are fines deposits at the riffle crest, measure the riffle crest depth as though those fines weren't there. Probe gently with your rod to find the shallowest continuous line across the downstream end of the pool that's made up of course material and use the depths to that coarse material to calculate riffle crest depth.

Data requirements
  1. Never list a water+fines depth that's less than riffle crest depth-it will make errors in the calculations. If water + fines at a location is shallower than riffle crest it's out of the pool and you shouldn't be measuring it.
  2. If you go in and then out of the pool across a transect (rocks are the usual reason) you need to have a point exactly equal to the riffle crest depth at the point where you leave the residual pool and again when you reenter the residual pool at the other side of the rock.
Last Modified: Aug 29, 2016 11:25:47 AM