Archive for the ‘river information’ Category

REFORM stands for REstoring river FOR effective catchment Management. It’s a pretty cool effort and I’d recommend spending some time noodling around the site. www.reformrivers.eu

The publication ‘Final report on methods, models, tools to assess the hydromorphology of rivers’ can be viewed as a pdf here. It’s a little over 100 pages, but it’s worth the read as it focuses on monitoring standards and assessment procedures to characterize the consequences of river degradation and restoration.  The report contains the following chapters:

  1. Introduction
  2. Overall Methodological Framework
  3. Stage I: Catchment-wide delineation and spatial characterization of the fluvial system
  4. Stage II: Assessment of temporal changes and current conditions
  5. Stage III: Assessment of scenario-based future trends
  6. Stage IV: River management

The report is chock full of good information, useful graphics, and literature. I particularly enjoyed this summary table in chapter 6.



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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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Chalk one up for the American Geophysical Union (AGU). They have compiled 28 papers and assembled them in one book, and made each paper available in a downloadable pdf file.

Stream Restoration in Dynamic Fluvial Systems: Scientific Approaches, Analyses, and Tools

Despite this book’s release in 2011, I just ran across this. As such, I haven’t read much yet, but I now know what some of my night time reading will entail for the next few weeks.

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Claire Thirwall started a great discussion within the LinkedIn group River Restoration Professionals.   She posted a link to a British stream restoration guide, and several other members made subsequent contributions to links to other similar efforts from different countries.  Here’s a condensed list of those links:

The River Restoration Centre’s Manual of River Restoration Techniques

The Wild Trout Trust publications (most items are for sale)

USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Stream Restoration page (has links to several stream restoration and design guidance documents)

River Restoration Analysis Tool (River RAT)

Canada’s Fisheries and Oceans
Ecological Restoration of Degraded Aquatic Habitats: A Watershed Approach



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The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife has just released a draft of its document titled “Stream Habitat Restoration Guidelines 2012” here.  It’s an  831 page document that I’ve only skimmed so far.  It does look rather thorough and as with many other documents covering the subject in general, it advocates for a watershed analysis and perspective on impacts throughout the landscape that can have an effect on physical channel habitat.  The document has 5 chapters covering some broad restoration themes, it then goes into 13 specific restoration techniques ranging from floodplain and channel manipulation, to large woody debris management and beaver management.  Finally, the document provides 10 appendices which appear to be introductions to academic courses such as fluvial geomorphology, sediment transport and hydrology.  Overall, it looks like an excellent reference to add to one’s  library on the topic of stream restoration.

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Last October, the National Fisheries Service has released a report titled “Science Base and Tools for Evaluating Stream Engineering, Management, and Restoration Proposals.”


The tools in the report include a project screening matrix, an information checklist and information on the River Restoration Analysis Tool (RiverRAT).  The screening tool and information checklist are straightforward.  Roughly seventy pages of the report cover fluvial geomorphology (yay!) and stream habitat. The fourth section of the document covers various aspect of a project as is progresses along.

The report also has four extensive appendices:

A) Investigative Analyses
B) Design of Stream Channel and Streambanks
C) Management Alternatives
D) Bibliography

For those familiar with the literature, much of the material will be review. Nevertheless, the overall document is a well organized compilation of available tools and the steps that should be taken as part of a restoration project.

HT: Peter Skidmore’s post in the LinkedIn group River Restoration Northwest

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I haven’t written anything to date for this analysis.  I’ve simply manipulated data from the USGS Suspended Sediment Database and summarized them in a spreadsheet available from the Ohio DNR and made a map.  The watersheds that are delineated in the map were made using EPA Watershed Delineation add-on in HydroDesktop.  The one data point that jumps out at me is the 1982 annual load for the Salmon River: 1,158 tons/mi2/yr, 96% of which occurred on June 5th and 6th. (Granted, the record that year only had 245 days of data, and no data were collected on June 4th). In any event, the number is still quite large and puts it in league with some of the larger annual loads I saw while working in coastal northern California, an area known for its high sediment loads.  The subsequent question that makes me curious is how did the channel respond to this flood in early June, 1982?  I have to assume that the massive load of sediment was deposited somewhere, but I also have to assume that much of bed and banks were scoured. The Google Earth imagery goes back to 1990 and it suggests a fairly stable single thread channel that hasn’t migrated much in the past two decades.  The vast majority of the floodplain appears forested, so my assumption is that much of the suspended sediment was deposited on the floodplain on the receding limb of the storm event or it was simply carried downstream to the Connecticut River.

(Circling back to the Allen Brook analysis, these results from CT gauges make me question  all the more the estimated sediment loads using the SWAT model for subbasins 1, 3, 4 an d 22 which supposedly were generating annual loads in excess of 5,ooo tons per square mile.  As consulting colleague of mine in California once said to me, “Beware the uncalibrated model.”)

The other bit of insight I gleaned from these data are how episodic the pulses of suspended sediment are in New England.  Granted, the data are limited: only 3 gauges had 5 or more years of nearly complete (360+ days of data for a given water year).  Nevertheless, it still suggests to me that most rivers are relatively calm and not transporting an inordinate amount of suspended sediment and then WHAM!, a large and rare event occurs that has the ability to deliver a substantial amount of sediment, well outside the range of normal annual load variability (very roughly speaking 20 to 100 tons/mi2/yr).

I also used the Effective Discharge from Suspended Sediment spreadsheet available from the Ohio DNR here.  Unfortunately, I’ve never quite gotten the gist of the spreadsheet, despite looking at it and reviewing the hidden Calculation Table tab.  In any event, I’ve plugged in the data for the eight CT gauges.  The hyperlink in the first column should take you to the USGS data, and the hyperlink on the right should take you to the spreadsheet I’ve saved on Box.net.  Each spreadsheet is just under 6Mb and is saved in .xlsm format to save space and to allow the macros that Dan Mecklenburg at the Ohio DNR developed to be functional.

Station Number
(USGS Link)

Station Name
(Effective Discharge Spreadsheet Link)


Muddy Brook At Childs Hill Rd Nr Woodstock, CT


Yantic R At Yantic, CT


Stony Bk Nr West Suffield, CT


Scantic R At Broad Brook, CT


Coginchaug River At Middlefield, CT


Salmon R Nr East Hampton, CT


Housatonic R At Falls Village, CT


Housatonic R At Gaylordsville, CT

It is at this point that I’m seeking some help.  If anyone has some insight into how to reasonably estimate effective discharge for any of these gauges based on the available data, I would love for you to contact me.  Please feel free to use the comment section.

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