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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Channel-Forming Discharge

Authors
item Shields Jr, Fletcher
item Doyle, M - UNIV NORTH CAROLINA
item Copeland, R - MOBILE BOUNDARY HYDRAULIC
item Fripp, J - USDA NRCS

Submitted to: Government Publication/Report
Publication Type: Government Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: June 15, 2005
Publication Date: August 31, 2007
Citation: Shields, F. D. Jr., Doyle, M. W., Copeland, R. R., Fripp, J. 2007. Channel Forming Discharge. Section 654.0508 in Stream Restoration Design, National Engineering Handbook Part 654, USDA-NRCS Washington, D. C., CD-ROM.

Interpretive Summary: Past alteration of stream corridors has degraded environmental resources, principally water quality and habitat quality. New, improved guidance is needed for designing and managing stream channels. A key variable in most analyses is the stream flow rate that corresponds to the size of the stream channel. This paper explains several ways of estimating this flow rate and identifies the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. This information will be useful for personnel responsible for designing stream channels, instream structures, and managing flow regimes.

Technical Abstract: A quantity termed channel-forming discharge is often required for channel stability assessment and channel design. The channel-forming discharge concept is based on the idea that for a given alluvial channel geometry, there exists a single discharge that given enough time, would produce average width, depth, and slope equivalent to those produced by the natural hydrograph. This discharge is thought to dominate channel form and process. This paper describes advantages and limitations of four approaches that are commonly used for estimating channel-forming discharge.

Last Modified: 11/1/2014
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