Date of Graduation

Spring 2012


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Robert Pavlowsky


Ozarks river, channel morphology, bankfull, restoration, bedrock control

Subject Categories

Geomorphology | Hydrology | Sedimentology


Channel morphology equations (CMEs) quantify downstream trends in channel variables and are useful for planning stream restoration designs and comparing river geomorphology among various regions. In the Ozarks, few studies exist that quantify stream characteristics, and a watershed-scale geomorphic study of rivers in southwest Missouri is currently lacking. The purpose of this research is to use CMEs to quantify channel form, substrate variability, and valley scale characteristics in the James River basin (3,771 km2). Specifically, the objectives are to: (1) quantify bankfull and longitudinal channel characteristics using channel form, substrate, and geospatial measurements coupled with USGS gage calibration; (2) develop channel morphology and stream power equations and evaluate sampling error and natural geomorphic variability; and (3) examine the influence of geologic controls on channel form and stream power. Field data were collected and analyzed from 17 sites along the main stem of the James River spanning a range of drainage areas from 6 to 2,530 km2. Results indicate bankfull channels in the James River contain the 1.1 to 1.5 year recurrence interval flood. Channel variables are strongly related to drainage area with r2 values >0.90 for equations describing cross-sectional area, discharge, depth, riffle spacing, and pool length. Poorly fitting equations for other variables are explained by variable influence of bedrock controls. Median sediment size slightly increases downstream due to tributary and bluff sediment inputs and non-linear downstream stream power trends. The CMEs produced by this research are useful for restoration designs and provide a base from which to further quantify channel forms and processes in the Ozarks.


© Andrew Robert DeWitt

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