Archive for the ‘geomorphology’ Category

If you are a member of LinkedIn and you are interested in stream and river restoration, I recommend joining the ASCE River Restoration TC group.  Over the years, there have been some great discussions swirling around restoration. Doug Shields recently posted this question:

“How do you design a stream channel for a project that includes channel reconstruction/reconfiguration?” The responses so far have been quite good and I look forward to reading more. Jim MacBroom was my former boss and his opening sentence is perfect: “The most important step is to have a clear understanding of the channel’s physical processes and how they relate to the project’s goals and objectives.” Clear, articulate and difficult to argue otherwise.



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The USGS has reviewed several gauges throughout the state and has now developed regional bankfull geometry curves.  For those of us waiting for these data so that we can put them to use on projects, this is a great development.  The study does have a few geographic limitations, so take note of those caveats before putting the equations to use.


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I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the FGM workshop.  There were a number of great talks and the organizers of the event have done a nice job of making all the PowerPoint presentations available online here:


If there were one file to view, I would suggest looking at Mike Kline’s presentation.  A good chunk of this blog has been about various tools that are available to better understand the hydrologic and geomorphic settings of a project site.  What I like about Mike’s presentation is that it highlights the benefits that can be realized from a fluvial geomorphic assessment.  FEMA’s flood insurance maps are (as the name suggests) designed for the insurance market.  A fluvial geomorphic assessment and resulting fluvial erosion hazard map, indicates the areas within a valley context that are subject to erosion hazards.  In some settings, this will be narrower than a mapped FEMA floodplain, and in other places, it will be wider.  Vermont’s fluvial geomorphic assessments and subsequent river corridor plans provides water quality, habitat and public safety benefits.  They provide important context for restoration projects and they help prioritize restoration projects as well.  That’s the real benefit of the program.  Getting to where Vermont is took several years, dozens of partners were hired to walk the streams and load the data into the database, and several VT DEC staff have worked hard at leveraging that data by writing river corridor plans and making the data available via an online map viewer.

The main thrust of the FGM workshop was to start to generate some interest in developing a program similar to what Vermont has developed.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Massachusetts will be able to follow suit.

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GIS 4 Geomorphology

Since I live in Northeastern Massachusetts, I don’t think I’ll be able to put too many of these tools to use.    The Miles River is near me and I believe the slope is less than 1 foot per mile in some sections.

Nevertheless, the geomorphologist in me thinks this is a very cool site and certainly worth mentioning.  There are a number of ArcGIS tutorials, and the tools apply to mountainous landscapes and watersheds.  Another nice feature is that it is all completely free.  Thank you Mr. Cooley.


Hopefully some of you can put the tools to good use!

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