Bankfull Frequency in Rivers

Authored by: Carmen Agouridis

Handbook of Engineering Hydrology

Print publication date:  March  2014
Online publication date:  March  2014

Print ISBN: 9781466552463
eBook ISBN: 9781466552470
Adobe ISBN:

10.1201/b16683-4

 

Abstract

AUTHOR

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Bankfull Frequency in Rivers

AUTHOR

Carmen Agouridis is an assistant professor in the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Department at the University of Kentucky. A licensed professional engineer in Kentucky and West Virginia, Dr. Agouridis has expertise in stream restoration and assessment, riparian zone management, hydrology and water quality of surface waters, and low-impact development. She is the recipient of over $5 million in grants, has authored a number of publications related to streams and riparian management, and is the director of the Stream and Watershed Science Graduate Certificate at the University of Kentucky. Having received training in Rosgen Levels I–IV along with courses at the North Carolina Stream Restoration Institute and various conference workshops, she teaches Introduction to Stream Restoration, which is a senior- and graduate-level course at the University of Kentucky.

Preface 

Bankfull discharge is often used as a surrogate for channel-forming or dominant discharge—the morphologically significant discharge that shapes the river. Because of this, understanding the magnitude and frequency of bankfull discharge is important for river management and restoration. While an average return period of 1.5 years is often cited for bankfull discharge, this event can occur at intervals of less than one year to more than a decade. Determining bankfull discharge magnitude and frequency requires the ability to identify bankfull elevation in the field, transform this elevation into a discharge, and then compute the frequency of the resultant discharge.

3.1  Introduction

Bankfull discharge represents the maximum flow that a river can convey without overflowing its banks [5,19,42,77]. This discharge is considered morphologically significant as it represents the separation between river formation processes and floodplain processes [19,42,57]. Bankfull discharge is considered deterministic and as such is frequently used to estimate the channel-forming or dominant discharge of alluvial rivers [19,27,66]. Channel-forming discharge is a theoretical discharge that if maintained for an indefinite period of time (i.e., held constant) would produce the same river morphology as that of the long-term hydrograph [2,19,66,69]. Bates and Jackson [9] define channel-forming discharge as the “discharge of a natural channel which determines the characteristics and principal dimensions of the channel.” The concept of channel-forming discharge is applicable to stable rivers [19].

As channel-forming discharge is theoretical, it is not measured directly; rather it is indirectly estimated using bankfull discharge although effective discharge, the discharge that transports the maximum annual sediment load, is sometimes used [1,5,11,19,25,26,62,78,79]. Soar and Thorne [69] describe effective discharge as the “integration of sediment transport with flow-duration.” As seen in Figure 3.1 with curves (i) and (ii), frequent but small discharges transport small amount of the sediment, and infrequent but large discharges transport large amount of sediment. However, when considering the effectiveness of a given discharge, as seen in curve (iii), it is the intermediate discharges that transport the greatest fraction of the average annual sediment load [5,56,69].

Effective discharge curve (iii) developed from discharge frequency curve (i) and sediment transport rating curve (ii). (Adapted from Soar, P.J. and Thorne, C.R.,

Figure 3.1   Effective discharge curve (iii) developed from discharge frequency curve (i) and sediment transport rating curve (ii). (Adapted from Soar, P.J. and Thorne, C.R., Channel Restoration Design for Meandering River s, ERDC/CHL CR-01, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), Vicksburg, MS, 2001.)

Computing effective discharge requires the use of long-term discharge and sediment data, of which obtainment of the latter can be especially challenging. Few monitoring stations collect sediment data, and of those that do, it is the suspended fraction that is sampled. Juracek and Fitzpatrick [36] note that very few US Geological Survey (USGS) gage sites have bed load transport curves. The type of sediment data required to compute effective discharge depends on the river of interest. For rivers dominated by suspended load, effective discharge had been calculated using just this fraction [56]. For gravel-bed rivers, effective discharge has been computed using only bed load data although the bed load transport rates were calculated instead of measured given the difficulty in collecting bed load data [5,60]. In cases where rivers have a significant bed and suspended loads, the total bed material load is recommended [5,6,69]. Details regarding the procedure for calculating effective discharge are provided in Biedenharn et al. [11] and Soar and Thorne [69].

As determining bankfull discharge is less data intensive than computing effective discharge, and since it can be determined on both gaged and ungaged rivers, bankfull discharge is more commonly used by scientists, engineers, planners, and other environmental professionals than effective discharge. Estimations of bankfull discharge magnitude and frequency are particularly important in river restoration projects, which have increased dramatically in the United States [10,70], as bankfull discharge is a critical design parameter [2,14,68,74].

Williams [77] noted the frequency of bankfull discharge is not common across rivers. While the one–two year recurrence interval is often cited as the mean frequency of bankfull discharge [15,22,41], Williams [77] found it could vary widely from 0.25 to 32 years. Table 3.1 contains a summary of bankfull discharge return periods throughout the United States and in some locations in Europe, Caribbean, Australia, and Middle East.

3.2  Identifying Bankfull

Computation of bankfull discharge first requires locating bankfull elevation. Identification of bankfull elevation is done in the field [31,64] though limited efforts have examined techniques for remotely determining bankfull characteristics [12,13]. Identifying bankfull elevation requires practice with the degree of uncertainty in identifying bankfull elevation decreasing with increasing experience [31]. The degree of difficulty in identifying bankfull stage is also related to the stability state of the river and its location in the watershed. Bankfull elevation is often difficult to identify in unstable rivers [35], which are the very rivers for which restoration efforts are focused. Identifying bankfull elevation is more challenging with rivers without well-developed floodplains such as those in more mountainous regions [64].

3.2.1  Field Indicators

Identification of bankfull elevation is best done through the use of multiple indicators, if possible. These indicators should identify a consistent bankfull elevation throughout the project reach [37,64]. For unstable rivers or those without well-developed floodplains, the presence of reliable bankfull indications will likely be limited. Regional curves, which are curves relating drainage area to the bankfull characteristics of width; mean depth; cross-sectional area; and discharge are useful in helping to identify and validate bankfull elevation (Figure 3.2) [14,22,37,48].

Bankfull indicators vary in importance and reliability in identifying bankfull elevation. Bankfull indicators commonly used, listed in order of importance, include [14,37,48,64,72]

  • Flat depositional surfaces immediately adjacent to the river (Figure 3.3)
  • Top of the highest depositional feature such as point bars and central bars (Figure 3.4)
  • Prominent changes or breaks in the slope of a bank
  • Erosion or scour features
  • Vegetation

The use of vegetation is not recommended in the eastern portion of the United States as it is common for vegetation to grow below bankfull elevation. In the western portion of the United States, bankfull elevation has been successfully identified using vegetation.

In some instances, the flat depositional surfaces immediately adjacent to the river are inner berm features. The inner berm is developed and maintained by discharges that are smaller and more frequent than the bankfull discharge. This feature is more common in rivers that are or have adjusted to changing watershed conditions such as urbanization [20,23]. Identifying the inner berm elevation as bankfull elevation would result in an incorrect bankfull discharge [14].

Table 3.1   Bankfull Discharge Return Periods for the United States, Europe, Caribbean, Australia, and Middle East

Under Study Location

Bankfull Discharge Return Period (Years)

Range

Average

Source

Eastern United States

 

 

 

     New York (regions 1 and 2)

1.01–3.8

2.1

[55]

     New York (region 3)

1.2–3.4

2.1

[51]

     New York (regions 4 and 4a)

1.2–2.7

1.5

[52]

     New York (region 5)

1.1–3.4

1.6

[74]

     New York (region 6)

1.01–2.4

1.5

[53]

     New York (region 7)

1.1–3.6

2.1

[54]

     Pennsylvania and Maryland

1.01–2.3

1.4

[16]

     Piedmont of Pennsylvania and Maryland

1.01–1.5

1.3

[17]

     Piedmont of Pennsylvania and Maryland

1.2–1.5

1.4

[75]

     Allegheny Plateau and Valley and Ridge of Maryland

1.1–1.8

1.5

[44]

     Coastal Plains of Maryland

1.0–1.4

1.2

[45]

     Piedmont of Maryland

1.3–1.8

1.5

[46]

     Coastal Plains of Virginia and Maryland

<1.01–2.1

1.4

[39]

     Piedmont of Virginia

1.0–4.3

1.8

[43]

     Valley and Ridge of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia

<1.1–2.3

1.4

[37]

     Piedmont of North Carolina (rural)

1.01–1.8

1.4

[29]

     Mountains of North Carolina

1.1–1.9

1.5

[30]

     Coastal Plains of North Carolina

1.0–1.3

1.1

[21]

     Coastal Plains of North Carolina

0.1–0.3a

0.2a

[71]

     Piedmont of North Carolina (urban)

1.01–1.8

1.4

[23]

     Florida

1.0–1.4

1.1

[48]

     Bluegrass region of Kentucky

<1.01–1.2

1.1

[14]

     Eastern Coal Fields of Kentucky

<1.01–1.5

1.1

[73]

     Ohio

<1.01–1.4

1.1

[62]

     Ohio

1.01–9.7

1.7

[67]

     Michigan

1.0–1.8

1.3

[49]

     Michigan

1.1–10

3.4

[63]

     Western United States

 

 

 

     Western United States

1.01–32

14.0

[77]

     Oklahoma

1.01–3.7

1.4

[24]

     Montana

1.0–4.4

1.9

[40]

     Arizona and New Mexico

1.1–1.8

1.4

[50]

     Colorado

1.3–1.8

1.5

[80]

     Colorado

0.7–0.9a

0.8a

[66]

     Yampa River Basin of Colorado and Wyoming

1.01–4

[5]

     Pacific Northwest

1.01–3.1

1.4

[15]

Europe

 

 

 

     Belgium

1.1–5.3

2.1

[59]

     Cumberland Basin in New South Wales

4–10

[60]

Caribbean

 

 

 

     Puerto Rico

0.1–0.2a

0.1a

[61]

Australia

 

 

 

     Northern Territory

1.8–7.6

4.1

[65]

Middle East

 

 

 

     Fars Province, Iran

1.1

[3]

Note: Reported values are based on annual series unless otherwise noted.

Regional curve comparing drainage area (A

Figure 3.2   Regional curve comparing drainage area (Aw) to bankfull cross-sectional area (Abkf) for the Valley and Ridge physiographic province. (Developed using data from McCandless, T.L., Maryland Stream Survey: Bankfull Discharge and Channel Characteristics of Streams in the Allegheny Plateau and the Valley and Ridge Hydrologic Regions, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service CBFO-S03-01, Annapolis, MD, 2003; Chaplin, J.J., Development of regional curves relating bankfull-channel geometry and discharge to drainage area for streams in Pennsylvania and selected areas of Maryland, U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2005-5147, Reston, VA, 2005; Keaton, J.N. et al., Development and analysis of regional curves for streams in the non-urban valley and ridge physiographic province, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia, U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2005-0576, Reston, VA, 2005.)

Flat depositional surfaces immediately adjacent to the channel, as noted by the arrows, are good indicators of bankfull elevation. (Photo courtesy of Greg Jennings, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC.)

Figure 3.3   Flat depositional surfaces immediately adjacent to the channel, as noted by the arrows, are good indicators of bankfull elevation. (Photo courtesy of Greg Jennings, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC.)

The top of the point bar, as noted by the arrow, is a good indicator of bankfull elevation. (Photo courtesy of Carmen Agouridis, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.)

Figure 3.4   The top of the point bar, as noted by the arrow, is a good indicator of bankfull elevation. (Photo courtesy of Carmen Agouridis, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.)

3.2.2  Minimum Width-to-Depth Ratio

Finding the elevation at which the width-to-depth ratio is at a minimum is a means of aiding in the identification of bankfull elevation, particularly in uniform reaches of the channel [14,19,38,77] (Table 3.2). In uniform reaches, the width of the channel changes slowly in relation to the channel depth until bankfull elevation is reached. As bankfull represents the breakpoint between in-channel and floodplain processes, width increases substantially in comparison to the mean depth (Figure 3.5).

3.3  Determining Bankfull Discharge

The procedure for computing bankfull discharge varies depending on whether or not the site of interest is gaged and the length of the discharge record. In both instances of gaged and ungaged sites, bankfull elevation must be identified in the field.

3.3.1  Gaged Sites

The USGS presently collects discharge and water level data at over 25,000 locations within the United States. Records are also available for over 11,000 additional decommissioned sites. A number of other countries operate monitoring programs similar to the USGS (e.g., Water Survey of Canada, Environment Agency of the United Kingdom). Many times, other entities such as universities and state and local governments also collect discharge data. However, such data are generally acquired for short periods of time meaning the data record may be of insufficient length for bankfull frequency analysis. A data record of at least 10 years is recommended for bankfull frequency analysis.

Fluctuations in budgets and population densities in addition to changing monitoring needs (e.g., total maximum daily loads) means that the gage network evolves. While some monitoring stations are decommissioned, new sites are initiated or activated. Discharge data from these inactive and active gaged sites are useful in bankfull frequency analysis provided bankfull elevation can be identified, and for inactive sites, an undisturbed staff gage is present (Figure 3.6).

Table 3.2   Minimum Width-to-Depth Ratio Method Is a Useful Aid for Identifying Bankfull Elevation

Elevation (m)

Width (m)

Mean Depth (m)

W/D

1.90

0.94

0.04

23.50

1.95

0.99

0.09

11.00

2.00

1.05

0.13

8.08

2.05

1.13

0.17

6.65

2.10

1.23

0.20

6.15

2.15

1.37

0.23

5.96

2.20

1.47

0.26

5.65

2.25

1.56

0.30

5.20

2.30

1.63

0.33

4.94

2.35

1.70

0.37

4.59

2.40

2.40

0.30

8.00

2.45

2.96

0.29

10.21

2.50

3.26

0.31

10.52

2.55

3.74

0.32

11.69

2.60

4.21

0.33

12.76

2.65

4.69

0.34

13.79

2.70

5.06

0.37

13.68

2.75

5.67

0.38

14.92

2.80

6.40

0.38

16.84

2.85

6.75

0.41

16.46

2.90

6.95

0.45

15.44

Note: Data correspond to Figure 3.5.

Channel width is fairly uniform until bankfull elevation where it increases at a much greater rate than depth. Note the flat depositional surfaces located on both banks of the channel.

Figure 3.5   Channel width is fairly uniform until bankfull elevation where it increases at a much greater rate than depth. Note the flat depositional surfaces located on both banks of the channel.

USGS hydrologic monitoring station comprised of (a) equipment housing unit with real-time data-transmittal capabilities and (b) staff gage for visually assessing water level (units are in feet). (Photo courtesy of Carmen Agouridis, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.)

Figure 3.6   USGS hydrologic monitoring station comprised of (a) equipment housing unit with real-time data-transmittal capabilities and (b) staff gage for visually assessing water level (units are in feet). (Photo courtesy of Carmen Agouridis, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.)

3.3.1.1  Active Gages: Real-Time Data

If the active gage site is equipped to transmit data in real time (e.g., at 15–60 min intervals), it is likely that a staff gage is absent. To determine the stage at which bankfull elevation occurs, complete the following steps [14]:

  • Identify bankfull elevation.
  • Measure the elevation difference between bankfull elevation and water surface elevation. Be sure to note the exact date and time of the measurements.
  • Access the Internet and find the stage that corresponds to the exact date and time of the measurements.
  • Add the elevation difference, recorded in Step b, to the stage in Step c to get the water level or stage at bankfull.
  • Use the most current discharge rating curve for the gaged site to determine bankfull discharge. For the USGS, discharge rating curves for active gages are available at the ratings depot.

3.3.1.2  Active Gages: Nonreal-Time Data

In cases where the data are not collected and transmitted in real time, a staff gage should be present. The staff gage is used to reference both water surface and bankfull stages. For active gages with only a staff gage present, complete the following steps [14,72]:

  • Identify bankfull elevation.
  • Measure the elevation difference between bankfull elevation and water surface elevation.
  • Read the water surface elevation on the staff gage.
  • Add the elevation difference, recorded in Step b, to the staff gage reading in Step c to get the water level or stage at bankfull.
  • Use the most current discharge rating curve for the gaged site to determine bankfull discharge. For the USGS, discharge rating curves for active gages are available at the ratings depot.

3.3.1.3  Inactive Gages

Determining bankfull discharge at inactive gages is the same for active gages without real-time capabilities (i.e., only a staff gage is present). The only difference is that discharge rating curves are not maintained for inactive sites. In the United States, one may either contact the USGS to obtain the last developed discharge rating curve or one may develop a stage-discharge rating curve using historic streamflow data [47]. Care should be exercised in using inactive gaged sites as the characteristics of the site (e.g., percent impervious area) may have changed considerably since the data were collected. If this were the case, treat the site as an ungaged site.

3.3.2  Ungaged Sites

While bankfull frequency cannot be determined at ungaged sites, information regarding bankfull discharge is useful. At ungaged sites, bankfull discharge must be estimated using hydraulic equations for open channel flow. In the United States, Manning’s equation is commonly used (3.1) [21,23,31,48]:

3.1 Q = 1 n AR 2/3 S 1/2

where

  • Q represents the bankfull discharge (m3 s−1)
  • n is the Manning’s coefficient
  • A is the bankfull cross-sectional area (m2)
  • R is the hydraulic radius (m)
  • S is the slope (m m−1)

With Manning’s equation, cross-sectional surveys are required to compute the bankfull channel dimensions width, cross-sectional area, and mean depth; a longitudinal survey is needed to compute bankfull slope; and a Manning’s roughness coefficient is selected. Numerous references are available for assisting in the selection of a Manning’s roughness coefficient [7,8,18,28,32,34]. A comparison of Manning’s n values and bankfull discharge estimates from ungaged sites to those from similar gaged sites is recommended for purposes of validation [23,48]. In cases where detailed river and floodplain surveys are available, bankfull discharge can be estimated using United States Army Corps of Engineers program Hydraulic Engineering Center River Analysis System (HEC-RAS).

3.4  Computing Bankfull Frequency

Once bankfull discharge is known, the next step is to compute the frequency at which it occurs. Recall that the frequency with which bankfull occurs can only be computed for gaged sites. Computing the frequency of bankfull is helpful in validating whether or not bankfull elevation was correctly identified. While the frequency with which bankfull discharge occurs has been shown to vary considerably by Williams [77], the variation in a physiographic region is typically relatively small (Table 3.1). Within a physiographic region, bankfull return period values that are notably lower or higher than those found in the area require further examination. Other bankfull characteristics such as width, cross-sectional area, and mean depth should be compared to an appropriate regional curve to ensure an inner berm feature (bankfull return period too small) is not mistakenly identified as bankfull elevation or that channel incision does not mistakenly result in the identification of the top of the lowest bank as bankfull elevation (bankfull return period too large).

The Interagency Advisory Committee on Water Data (IACWD) published guidelines on the determination of flood flow frequency—Guidelines for Determining Flood Flow Frequency, Bulletin 17B of the Hydrology Subcommittee [33]. Commonly known as Bulletin 17B, this document serves as the standard for determining the frequency of bankfull discharges. The guidelines are applicable for stream gage records for at least 10 years in length, unregulated or at least not appreciably altered flows, and fairly consistent watershed conditions for the period of record studied [76]. A number of free and commercially available software programs are available for computing flood flow frequencies using the Bulletin 17B guidelines (Table 3.3).

Table 3.3   Software Programs Utilizing Flood Flow Frequency Computations Using Bulletin 17B Guidelines

Software Program

Developer

Domain

Website

HEC-SSP

US Army Corps of Engineers

Public

http://www.hec.usace.army.mil/software/hec-ssp/

Peak FQ

US Geological Survey

Public

http://water.usgs.gov/software/PeakFQ/

RIVERMorph

RIVERMorph, LLC

Private

http://www.rivermorph.com/

Source: IACWD (Interagency Advisory Committee on Water Data), Guidelines for Determining Flood Flow Frequency-Bulletin 17B of the Hydrology Subcommittee, U.S. Geological Survey Office of Water Data Coordination, Reston, VA, 1982.

3.4.1  Example

Determine the bankfull frequency for USGS gage station 01613900 Hogue Creek near Hayfield, Virginia, United States. Discharge data were collected starting in 1961. A cross-sectional view of a riffle surveyed at the site is shown in Figure 3.7. Keaton et al. [37] contains a detailed description of the site. All elevations are in reference to the staff gage datum.

3.4.2  Solution

The solution consists of three parts: identifying bankfull elevation, determining bankfull discharge, and computing the return period or frequency of the bankfull discharge:

Riffle cross section at USGS gage station 01613900 Hogue Creek near Hayfield, Virginia, United States. Bankfull elevation, as shown by the dotted line, occurs at a flat depositional surface immediately adjacent to the channel.

Figure 3.7   Riffle cross section at USGS gage station 01613900 Hogue Creek near Hayfield, Virginia, United States. Bankfull elevation, as shown by the dotted line, occurs at a flat depositional surface immediately adjacent to the channel.

  • Bankfull is identified as the flat depositional surface adjacent to the channel, as shown with the dotted line in Figure 3.7. Bankfull occurs at an elevation of 1.21 m at station 8.38 m. The minimum width-to-depth ratio is used to verify bankfull elevation, as shown in Table 3.4. At an elevation of 1.21 m, the width-to-depth ratio is about 16.0.
  • The stage-discharge ratings table for the gage station is used to identify bankfull discharge. Table 3.5 contains a portion of the ratings table. At an elevation of 1.21 m, the corresponding discharge is 17.8 m3 s−1.

    Table 3.4   Width-to-Depth (W/D) Ratios for Riffle Cross Section at USGS Gage Station 01613900 Hogue Creek near Hayfield, Virginia, United States

    Elevation (m)Width (m)Mean Depth (m)W/D
    0.050.750.0325.00
    0.101.580.0531.60
    0.153.420.0657.00
    0.204.490.0949.89
    0.255.160.1243.00
    0.305.770.1636.06
    0.356.850.1838.06
    0.408.330.1943.84
    0.458.820.2338.35
    0.509.320.2734.52
    0.559.770.3032.57
    0.6011.000.3234.38
    0.6511.220.3631.17
    0.7011.430.4028.58
    0.7511.650.4525.89
    0.8011.860.4924.20
    0.8512.040.5322.72
    0.9012.210.5721.42
    0.9512.380.6219.97
    1.0012.540.6619.00
    1.0512.710.7018.16
    1.1012.860.7417.38
    1.1513.000.7816.67
    1.2013.150.8216.04
    1.2514.550.7918.42
    1.3015.590.7919.73
    1.3516.620.7921.04
    1.4019.290.7226.79
    1.4520.480.7328.05
    1.5020.720.7726.91
    1.5520.960.8125.88
    1.6021.190.8524.93
    1.6521.430.8924.08
    1.7021.670.9323.30
    1.7521.900.9722.58
    1.8022.141.0121.92
    1.8522.381.0521.31

    Table 3.5   Portion of the Stage-Discharge Rating Table for USGS Gage Station 01613900 Hogue Creek near Hayfield, Virginia, United States

    Stage (m)Q (m3s−1)
    1.18917.1
    1.19217.2
    1.19517.3
    1.19817.4
    1.20117.5
    1.20417.6
    1.20717.7
    1.21017.8
    1.21317.9
    1.21618.0
    1.21918.1
  • The bankfull return period or frequency is computed using the publically available software program Hydrologic Engineering Center Statistical Software Package (HEC-SSP). Table 3.6 contains the annual peak flow data used in the analysis. Note that the peak streamflow for water year 2009 was not used because the gage height was not the maximum for the year.

The bankfull return period is 1.5 years meaning the event occurs twice every 3 years.

3.5  Summary and Conclusions

Knowledge of the magnitude and frequency of bankfull discharge in rivers has important implications for river management and restoration. Changes or modifications to the flow regime of a river such as in the case of irrigation, dams/impoundments, urbanization, or even climate change can alter the frequency with which the floodplain is inundated (i.e., bankfull discharge producing events occur) meaning the geomorphic and ecological functions of the riverine system will change as well [58]. Bankfull events not only shape the channel but these and larger discharges influence riparian ecosystems through sediment, nutrient, and woody debris deposits onto the floodplains. Such deposits influence nutrient cycling in riparian soils and hence hyporheic and instream water quality [4].

Efforts to manage and restore rivers must carefully consider bankfull discharge magnitude and frequency. While many studies report bankfull return periods between 1 and 2 years, others report values on the order of months to decades. Selecting a specified return interval (e.g., 1.5 years) for a restoration design without carefully evaluating the expected bankfull return period for a physiographic region can result in large errors in estimating channel-forming discharge [19]. If the specified return period is much lower than the actual bankfull return period, then the channel will be undersized (i.e., bankfull discharge is actually larger than what is modeled) and will likely erode. Contrarily, if the specified return period is much larger than the actual bankfull return period, then the channel will be too large (i.e., bankfull discharge is actually smaller than what is modeled) and will likely aggrade [14]. The interaction between the channel and its floodplain is critical. As such, successful management strategies and restoration efforts will seek to maintain, or if needed, reestablish this connection.

Table 3.6   Annual Peak Flow Data for USGS Gage Station 01613900 Hogue Creek near Hayfield, Virginia, United States

Water Yeara

Date

Q(m3s−1)

H(m)

1961

April 13, 1961

14.22

1.32

1962

March 21, 1962

22.09

1.53

1963

March 19, 1963

20.39

1.61

1964

November 7, 1963

11.10

1.27

1965

March 5, 1965

20.87

1.62

1966

September 21, 1966

27.86

1.79

1967

March 7, 1967

31.43

1.87

1968

March 17, 1968

14.50

1.42

1969

July 27, 1969

1.16

0.60

1970

July 9, 1970

55.22

2.26

1971

November 13, 1970

51.25

2.19

1972

June 22, 1972

78.15

2.70

1973

December 8, 1972

10.93

1.17

1974

December 26, 1973

11.67

1.21

1975

March 19, 1975

30.30

1.85

1976

January 1, 1976

31.43

1.88

1977

October 9, 1976

53.24

2.34

1978

August 6, 1978

75.89

2.61

1979

February 25, 1979

30.02

1.60

1980

October 2, 1979

31.15

1.61

1981

April 13, 1981

3.62

0.62

1982

June 13, 1982

39.08

1.84

1983

April 24, 1983

22.09

1.34

1984

February 14, 1984

51.25

2.32

1985

November 28, 1984

28.60

1.76

1986

November 4, 1985

20.08

1.49

1987

April 17, 1987

25.37

1.66

1988

May 6, 1988

28.88

1.76

1989

March 6, 1989

10.70

1.12

1990

July 13, 1990

4.87

0.78

1991

October 23, 1990

34.26

1.91

1992

July 25, 1992

21.41

1.53

1993

March 4, 1993

65.70

2.22

1994

November 28, 1993

33.13

1.60

1995

June 27, 1995

21.18

1.30

1996

September 6, 1996

115.82

2.96

1997

December 2, 1996

13.05

1.06

1998

November 7, 1997

29.45

1.51

1999

March 17, 1999

4.56

0.69

2000

August 6, 2000

30.58

1.54

2001

June 22, 2001

82.40

2.49

2002

May 2, 2002

5.15

0.72

2003

January 1, 2003

22.20

1.33

2004

September 28, 2004

67.68

2.25

2005

March 28, 2005

12.01

1.02

2006

November 29, 2005

25.66

1.42

2007

April 15, 2007

19.43

1.26

2008

April 20, 2008

21.29

1.31

2009

May 4, 2009

14.61

1.11

2010

March 13, 2010

37.66

1.70

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