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April Sawyer

Sawyer, April


Office: CHCB 113A


Fluvial geomorphologist


B.S. Environmental Science, Hydrobiology Emphasis, University of CA, Davis. Fall 2007.

M.S. Candidate, Geosciences, University of Montana. Expected Completion Spring 2015.

Field of Study

General interests: fluvial geomorphology, ecohydraulics, ecology, fisheries biology, river rehabilitation, hydrology and hydaulics modeling

M.S. reseach interests: I am investigating the conditions necessary to form and maintain chute cutoffs in meandering gravel-bed rivers. A chute cutoff is a channel that bypasses or "cuts off" the main channel bend in a meandering channel and is integral to controlling meander migration rates and sinuosity in rivers. Chute channels and the abandoned channels, swales and oxbow lakes they leave behind are also very important to the complexity of aquatic habitat. However, channel simplification and floodplain disconnection has resulted due to historical river management (e.g. flow regime alteration, changes in sediment supply and removal of woody material) in many river systems. The mechanisms responsible for forming these channels have been primarily studied in sand-bed systems and are only recently being successfully created and maintained in laboratory flume settings simulating gravel bed rivers with a mixed sediment regime comprised of gravel and fines in suspension (e.g. Braudrick et al, 2009 and van Dijk et al., 2012). A better understanding of the controls on the formation of these cut off channels in gravel-bed rivers can help geomorphologists, land owners, floodplain and river managers, ecologists and practitioners interested in river restoration understand how rivers self-form and maintain their channel pattern and floodplains.

Professional Experience

Associate ecohydrologist. cbec ecoengineering. West Sacramento, CA. June 2010 - July 2013.

Senior Staff Scientist. Cardno ENTRIX. Sacramento, CA. February 2008 - June 2010.

Undergraduate Research Assistant. Gregory Pasternack Lab. Hydrology Department. University of CA, Davis. October 2004 - January 2008.

Peer Reviewed Literature

Sawyer, A.M. G.B. Pasternack, H.J. Moir and A.A. Fulton. 2010. Riffle-pool maintenance and flow convergence routing observed on a large gravel-bed river. Geomorphology 114, 143-160.

Sawyer, A.M., G.B. Pasternack, J.E. Merz, M. Escobar and A.E. Senter. 2008. Construction constraints for geomorphic-unit rehabilitation on regulated gravel-bed rivers. River Research and Applications 24, 1-22.


Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, softball, volleyball, fly fishing, river snorkeling, hiking, outdoor photography, folfing, gardening, cooking