How do macrophyte distribution patterns affect hydraulic resistances?
In eutrophic river systems, macrophytes attain high biomass with reduced drainage and increased flooding risk. To avoid these problems, water managers remove vegetation. Total removal, however, increases wash out of macro-invertebrate communities reducing the ecological value of rivers. Partial vegetation removal reduces this washout and prevents an increase in hydraulic resistance. In this, study the hydraulic performance of three partial vegetation removal patterns was tested. From the results it was seen that hydraulic resistance, expressed as Manning's n, was varying between 0.025 m−1/3 s and 0.050 m−1/3 s. Compared with the empty situation, the different distribution patterns increased resistance between 14 and 23%. Hydraulic resistance of these patterns was also significantly influenced by the species present in the vegetation patches. Three groups of macrophyte plants (emerged, floating leaved and submerged) with significantly different hydraulic resistances were determined. The emerged species Sparganium erectum generated the least resistance with an average friction of 0.03 m−1/3 s. Stuckenia pectinata and Potamogeton natans had slightly higher friction values around 0.4 m−1/3 s. Ranunculus penicillatus and Callitriche platycarpa had average friction values around 0.05 m−1/3 s. The proposed vegetation removal patterns are good alternatives to create a management system, which minimally increases hydraulic resistance but still guarantees the ecological functions.