EGU22-8642, updated on 28 Mar 2022
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Monitoring the stability of leaky dams and their influence on debris transport with innovative sensor technology on the SENSUM project

Martina Egedusevic1, Georgina Bennett1, Kyle Roskilly1, Alessandro Sgarabotto2, Irene Manzella2,3, Alison Raby4, Sarah J. Boulton2, Miles Clark5, Robin Curtis1, Diego Panici1, and Richard E Brazier1,6
Martina Egedusevic et al.
  • 1University of Exeter, Geography Departmnet, United Kingdom of Great Britain – England, Scotland, Wales (
  • 2School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, United Kingdom
  • 3Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation, University of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands
  • 4School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, United Kingdom
  • 5School of Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom
  • 6Centre for Resilience in Environment, Water and Waste, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom

Woody debris dams/leaky dams are an increasingly popular Natural Flood Management (NFM) measure in low order tributaries, with preliminary evidence suggesting that they are effective in attenuating flood peaks and reducing flood risk. However, the stability of these dams is not widely monitored, and thus there is a poor evidence base for best design practice with respect to the long-term integrity of such features. This is particularly pertinent given the threat posed to downstream infrastructure by woody debris carried in floodwaters after potentially catastrophic dam failure. There is also a lack of research into how effective dams of different designs are at holding back large wood and sediment transported by the flow and reducing the impact of flood debris on downstream infrastructure, including bridges, culverts etc. In the SENSUM project (Smart SENSing of landscapes Undergoing hazardous hydrogeomorphic Movement,, we are developing and applying innovative sensor technology to assess the stability of different woody debris dam designs and build an evidence base to inform policy on this NFM practice locally and nationally. We also use these sensors to track woody debris and assess how effective dams are at trapping and retaining large wood debris and cobble-sized sediment. This paper addresses these questions at several field sites across the UK and in laboratory experiments to report quantitative data which evaluate the literal success/failure of NFM interventions and how these may impact the future design of such approaches.

How to cite: Egedusevic, M., Bennett, G., Roskilly, K., Sgarabotto, A., Manzella, I., Raby, A., Boulton, S. J., Clark, M., Curtis, R., Panici, D., and Brazier, R. E.: Monitoring the stability of leaky dams and their influence on debris transport with innovative sensor technology on the SENSUM project, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-8642,, 2022.


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