• Monitoring Winter Flow Conditions on the Ivishak River, Alaska

      Toniolo, Horacio; Vas, D.; Keech, J.; Bailey, J. (Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates, 2017-09)
      The Sagavanirktok River, a braided river on the Alaska North Slope, flows adjacent to the trans-Alaska pipeline for approximately 100 miles south of Prudhoe Bay. During an unprecedented flooding event in mid-May 2015, the pipeline was exposed in an area located approximately 20 miles south of Prudhoe Bay. The Ivishak River is a main tributary of the Sagavanirktok River, but little is known about its water flow characteristics and contribution to the Sagavanirktok River, especially in winter and during spring breakup. To gather this information, we installed water level sensors on two main tributaries of the Ivishak River (Upper Ivishak and Saviukviayak rivers), early in winter season 2016–2017, in open-water channels that showed promise as locations for long-term gauging stations. Our ultimate goal was to find a location for permanent deployment of water level sensors. By February, the first sites chosen were ice covered, so two additional sensors, one on each river, were deployed in different locations. Some of the sensors were lost (i.e., carried away by the current or buried under a thick layer of sediments). Water level data gathered from the sensors showed a maximum change of 1.07 m. Winter discharge measurements indicate a 44% reduction between February and April 2017. A summer discharge measurement shows a 430% increase from winter to summer.