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Stream Laboratory


The stream laboratory features a large-scale sediment flume to allow fundamental and applied research of processes in headwater streams and mountain rivers with a unique combination of scale, instrumentation, computer-control and the planned ability to interface with researchers through the internet.


The flume is 20 meters long, 2 meters wide and 1.2 meters deep. The maximum water discharge is 1.1 cubic meters per second (or 40 cubic feet per second); maximum slope of the flume is 10 percent. A distinguishing feature is the ability to feed sand and gravel in an open circuit (non-recirculating) mode. The flume is designed to be environmentally sensitive. For example, water is recirculated through a large sump and the pumps are lubricated by water rather than oil.

Instrumentation for the flume includes stereoscopic PIV, ADV, optical and acoustic cameras, and an optical bed mapping system. A real-time ultrasonic bed mapping system is now near completion. Instrumentation may be located anywhere in the flume by a three-axis computer controlled platform.

Undergraduate Capstone Design Projects

The U of I Senior Capstone Design Program has an outstanding track record in designing equipment for the CERSL. Recent examples include the design of the sediment trap system and the design of a computer controlled, three axis, instrumentation platform.

Recent Projects

Recent projects include, "Physical Modeling of a Wave Generating Structure for the Boise River Recreation Park," "Sediment Transport in Mountain Streams," and "Physical Modeling of Hill-slope Erosion,” “Physical Modeling of Modified Culvert Flow to Aid Fish Passage."

Future Plans

  1. The sediment handling capability of the flume is fully functional. Both fixed and live bed experiments have been performed.
  2. The stream laboratory is being developed to have the capability for real-time collaboration with researchers from multiple locations outside Idaho. A lab-cam system was implemented in August of 2010. The lab-cams can be controlled and viewed from a standard Internet browser at any remote location.

Tuning Waves for the Boise Whitewater Park

Wave model looks downstream for Boise River Park development

Center for Ecohydraulics (CER)

Center for Ecohydraulics Research

Mailing Address:

322 E. Front St., Suite 340
Boise, ID 83702

Phone: 208-364-4935