Fluvial geomorphological methodology for natural stable channel design

Richard D. Hey

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55 Citations (Scopus)


A fluvial geomorphological methodology for designing natural stable channels is being widely applied for river restoration. It is an analogue procedure, as the W/d ratio and sinuosity from a reference reach are scaled to determine the restoration design. The choice of reference reach is crucial and published criteria specify that it should be stable, correspond to the stream type at the restoration site, have the same valley type, and be from the same hydrophysiographic region. For stable, meandering gravel cobble bed rivers flowing through alluvial flood plains (C3 and C4 stream types), UK regime equations are used to evaluate the procedure. Successful design requires particular combinations of the ratios of bankfull discharge, bed material size and load, valley slope, and bank vegetation category between the reference and restoration sites. These critical ratios, which are confirmed by U.S. field data, provide guidelines for selecting a suitable reference reach for C3-C4 stream types. They also indicate that the reference reach can be in any valley type or hydrophysiographic region. The geomorphological procedure will apply to all stable stream types, provided the reference reach is correctly identified. Specific guidelines for each stream type await the development of additional regime equations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-374
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of the American Water Resources Association
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006

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