Professors Don Baker, P.E. and Jerry Richardson, P.E. presented their research finding in a talk entitled North Platte River Stabilization Design to over 50 attendees at the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Greater Kansas City Post monthly luncheon/presentation on September 22, 2011. This research project was conducted for the Nebraska Community Foundation to develop a design for river training structures at the measuring weir on the Platte River near Nebraska-Wyoming. Accurate flow measurement at this structure has been adversely affected by channel migration, and bar formation due to high sediment loads in the Platte River. Previous construction of at this site had failed to result in a repeatable and consistent stage-discharge relationship.
A combined numeric and physical modeling approach was effective in understanding the complex velocity patterns at this site and to design river training structures to stabilize the channel and improve the discharge rating of the weir. Mr. Phil Balch, a fluvial geomorphologist from Wildhorse Riverworks, Inc. and Mr. Nathan Grahl, SCE civil engineering undergraduate senior, are also members of the research team. Mr. Balch assisted in the design of the model and Mr. Grahl helped build and run the model and analyzed the research data. Following the presentation, several of the luncheon participants came over to UMKC SCE’s Fluids lab to observe a demonstration of the model.