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MRI: Acquisition of Hydrodynamic Equipment and a Laser Grain Size Analyzer to Investigate the Lake Erie Seiche and Its Impact on Sedimentation in the Buffalo River

This Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Program award provides support for the acquisition of equipment to support research on the hydro and sediment dynamics of the lower reaches of the Buffalo River and within Lake Champlain in areas impacted by bi-directional flows. Specific equipment to be purchased includes: 1) multiple acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCP), surface meteorologic (MET) sensor packages, bottom water temperature sensors and associated hardware to initially install five ADCP/MET observational systems along the reach of the lower Buffalo River; 2) a bathymetric profiling system; and 3) a laser diffraction based grain size analysis system. The acquisition of these instruments will support research on the physical processes that control sedimentation and bottom surface morphology (e.g., furrows) in the lower reaches of the Buffalo River, which due to lake wind-driven seiche effects exhibits hydrodynamic behavior analogous to estuarine dynamics. PIs from Buffalo State College and Middlebury College in Vermont will incorporate observational data into models for hydro and sedimentary bedform dynamics in the Buffalo River and Lake Champlain. The Buffalo River is heavily impacted by industrial effluents and bottom sediments sequester a large variety of deleterious inorganic and organic compounds. Advances in understanding of the hydrodynamic forcing of sedimentary deposition and transport have ramifications for remediation efforts. Buffalo State College (BSC) is a Hispanic serving undergraduate institution, and Middlebury College is a liberal arts institution in Vermont with active undergraduate research programs.

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