Morphological Analysis and Assessment of a River Based on Morphological Characteristics, Artificial Structures and Channel Adjustment (Case Study: Talar River - Upstream of the Shirgah)

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Water Engineering and Management, Faculty of Agriculture, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management, Environmental Sciences Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Physical Geography, Faculty of Earth Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran


Introduction: Alterations in river systems are inevitable and affect the
environment. Rivers have played a very important role in creating and maintaining life on the
earth since a long time ago. In other words, rivers are vital for sustaining life and ecosystems,
providing essential freshwater for irrigation, drinking, and industry. However, human
interventions including changes in land use patterns, construction near rivers, exploitation of
water resources, and flood and storm management have significantly impacted on these crucial
environmental systems. They can actually alter the spatial distribution and velocity of
geomorphological processes such as sediment transport, erosion, and deposition, consequently
leading to significant changes in river morphology. Therefore, assessing their morphological
quality is important for their management and restoration. In this study, morphological
assessment from the upstream to the midstream of the Talar River as a pilot has been conducted
using the Morphological Quality Index (MQI) to evaluate the morphological status.
Material and Methods: First, Talar River was divided into two landscape units, three segments
and 23 reaches based on the hierarchical approach and according to the physiographic
condition. Then, geomorphological functionality, artificial structure and Indicators of channel
adjustment have been assessed by MQI which includes 28 parameters.
Results and Discussion: The results obtained from 28 MQI parameters in 23 reaches showed
that about 15% of the reaches have a "good" condition; almost 35% have a "moderate"
condition, and more than 50% have "poor" and "very poor" conditions. Based on the assessment
along the Talar river, the areas that are in the urban area due to the large amount of agriculture,
urban development and road crossing have poor and very poor morphological quality class, and
the areas that are in the forest area are natural and have good morphological quality. Also, the
results of the assessment indicate that the average quality class of the investigated reaches is in
"moderate" conditions.
Conclusion: The results show that most reaches of Talar River requires urgent measures for its
restoration. In addition, although the MQI method can be appropriate and effective tool in
diagnosing hydromorphological challenges. However, it is not still enough for an integrated
management and restoration, and it should be integrated with other indices regarding human
pressures i.e. water quality, hydrological and biological pressures.


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