Gregory B. Pasternack, Colin F. Byrne, Hervé Guillon, Belize A. Lane
Management of river networks across entire catchments often proves difficult because rivers are often subjected to diverse of geologic, climatic, and topographic settings. The diversity of landscapes creates different geomorphic processes that lead to observable differences in river channel patterns, bedforms, and cross-sectional morphology. Classification of rivers allows scientists and practitioners to simplify highly complex systems into a more limited number of manageable channel types. Although classification of rivers can take place at various scales (e.g. morphological units), classification of river networks is often focused on the reach scale, or approximately 10 – 20 channel widths.
This research focuses on classification of rivers throughout the state of California for the purpose of informing environmental flow strategies. California is split into management basins with unique physiographic characteristics and management goals. Therefore, classifications are conducted for each region individually. Eight regions within California are currently the focus of this research and are at various stages of the classification.
We implement multivariate statistical techniques to achieve data-driven classifications of rivers in each region. Streams are surveyed within each region to capture metrics that capture bankfull dimensions, dimensional variability, longitudinal profile, and sediment characteristics. In addition, sites are considered in relation to valley and basin-scale settings. Survey sites are grouped based upon hierarchical clustering methods and, channel types are defined based on characterization of groups using median attributes of all sites within each group.
Link to UC Davis eFlows website
Lane BA, Pasternack GB, Dahlke HE, Sandoval-Solis S. 2017. The role of topographic variability in river channel classification. Progress in Physical Geography : 0309133317718133. DOI: 10.1177/0309133317718133
Lane BA, Pasternack GB, Sandoval‐Solis S. 2018. Integrated analysis of flow, form, and function for river management and design testing. Ecohydrology DOI: 10.1002/eco.1969