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Keywords:

  • natural channel design;
  • surface water hydrology;
  • fluvial processes;
  • geomorphology;
  • stream restoration;
  • regional curves;
  • coastal plain

Abstract:  Regional curves, which relate bankfull channel dimensions and discharge to watershed drainage area, are developed to aid in identifying the bankfull stage in ungaged watersheds, and estimating the bankfull discharge and dimensions for river studies and natural channel design applications. This study assessed 26 stable stream reaches in two hydro-physiographic regions of the Florida Coastal Plain: the Northwest Florida Coastal Plain (NWFCP) and the North Florida Coastal Plain (NFCP). Data from stream reaches in Georgia and Alabama were also used to develop the Florida regional curves, since they are located in the same hydro-physiographic region. Reaches were selected based on the presence of U.S. Geological Survey gage stations and indicators of limited watershed development (e.g., <10% impervious surface). Analyses were conducted to determine bankfull channel dimensions, bankfull discharge, average channel slope, and Rosgen stream classification. Based on these data, significant relationships were found between bankfull cross-sectional area, width, mean depth, and discharge as a function of drainage area for both regions. Data from this study suggested that bankfull discharges and channel dimensions were larger from NWFCP streams than from Coastal Plain streams in North Carolina and Maryland. Bankfull discharges were similar between NFCP and Georgia coastal plain streams; therefore, the data were combined into one regional curve. In addition, the data were stratified by Rosgen stream type. This stratification strengthened the relationships of bankfull width and mean depth as a function of drainage area.