A two-dimensional numerical model was developed to study dissolved oxygen (DO) kinetics in a dredged Lake Erie tributary. The model design was aimed to specifically address the fact that many tributaries to the Great Lakes are dredged periodically for navigation, and that resultant changes in morphology and hydraulics can have significant impacts on DO. Due to the greater depths caused by dredging, river velocities slow considerably and vertical mixing is not as effective, leading to thermal stratification and potential short-circuiting of warmer upstream flow. The model solves the two-dimensional (laterally averaged) hydrodynamic and mass balance equations to simulate transport and transformation relevant to dissolved oxygen using an alternating direction, implicit finite difference method. Effects of oxygen-demanding pollutants from municipal and industrial discharges and also from nonpoint sources are included. A model application was developed for the Black River (Ohio), a tributary of Lake Erie. The river is dredged periodically, becomes stratified during the low flow summer months, and is affected by changing lake levels associated with seiching in Lake Erie. After calibration and confirmation, the model was used as a diagnostic tool to understand the impact of various loading sources on low DO levels observed along the bottom of the river. It is shown that sediment oxygen demand (SOD), combined with the river hydraulics, is the primary cause for low DO levels in the Black River.
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