First Advisor

Curt D. Peterson

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Geology




Reservoir sedimentation -- Oregon -- Bull Run Reservoir no. 1, Sedimentation and deposition -- Oregon -- Bull Run River Watershed



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, xiv, 333 p.)


Bull Run Watershed was set aside in late the 1800s as the water supply source for the City of Portland. Other than two dams being constructed, Reservoir #1 (1929) and Reservoir #2 (1962), development of the land had been minimal as public access was restricted. In the early 1960s, land management changed with increased road building and timber removal raising concerns about increased sediment discharge into the reservoirs. The objective of this study is to evaluate how much and how fast the sediment has accumulated in Reservoir #1, and to determine if the rate of sediment accumulation has changed over time. Three methods are utilized: 1) differencing map comparing pre- and postimpoundment sediment conditions, 2) analysis of tree-stumps on reservoir floor, and 3) gravity coring of reservoir sediment. Combining these methods, sediment volume is estimated between 254,000-422,000 cubic meters (332,000-552,000 cubic yards) and the rate of accumulation between 11.5-19.1 tonnes/km2/yr, reflecting a relatively low sediment yield rate. Two anomalous event-layers were identified in gravity cores collected. These are interpreted to be the 1964 flood and the 1972 North Fork Slide. Using these two events, sediment yield rate was divided into different historical segments: 15.33 (1930-1965); 43.62 (1965-1972); and 17.00 tonnes/km2/yr (1972-1993). The increase from 1965-1972 is attributed to either residual affects from the 1964 flood and/or changes in land management activities during this time. The source of the reservoir sediment is primarily from upper tributaries, with 20 percent being attributed to the anomalous events. Smaller amounts of sediment come from the reservoir side walls as lake levels raise and lower. Suspension and turbidity conditions in the reservoir are affected by the dynamics of the drainage system including seasonal fluctuations. Turbidity remains high at the upper reaches of the reservoir before settling out closer to the dam. Some sediment possibly leaves the reservoir over the spill-way or when water is removed for power production.


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