In recent years, a dramatic decline in Poyang Lake water levels and a shrinking water surface have raised concerns about water security and the wetland ecosystem. Changes in bottom topography due to sand mining activities in the lake was supposed to be one of the influencing factors of these changes. In response to this issue, the current study analyzed the change of lake bottom topography from observed digital elevation model (DEM) data, and quantitatively assessed the spatial and temporal responses of lake hydrology based on the framework of the neural network and the sediment effect was examined afterward. Results showed a total volume of 11.54 × 108 m3/year (about 0.96 × 108 m3/year or 1.58 × 108 t/year sediment) in net change of lake bottom topography in recent years, among which 97% was directly exported by commercial sand mining. During the study period, 2000–2011, intensive sand mining extended the central part of Poyang Lake and widened and deepened the outflow channel of the northern lake. This great change of lake bottom topography caused an average annual increase of 182.74 m3/s of lake outflow and a decline of 0.23 m–0.61 m in water levels across the lake. However, lake water levels are not consistent and show remarkable spatial and seasonal differences. The effects of changes in lake bottom topography on lake hydrological processes continue to grow as sand mining activities in the lake continue. More research on the environmental impacts is required for sustainable management of the lake ecosystem.
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