American Society of Civil Engineers

Predicting Stage-Discharge Curves in Channels with Bank Vegetation

by Stephen E. Darby, (Visiting Sci., Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Florence, Via di S. Marta 3, Florence 50139, Italy) and Colin R. Thorne, Aff.M.ASCE, (Prof., Dept. of Geography, Univ. of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, England)

Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, Vol. 122, No. 10, October 1996, pp. 583-586, (doi:

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Document type: Technical Note
Abstract: Many flood-control channels are subjected to expensive and environmentally damaging maintenance practices to control vegetation growth in attempts to preserve flood capacity. However, such maintenance regimes are often based on vague and qualitative guidelines. There is a clear need for physically based methods of predicting the impacts of vegetation growth on flow resistance and flood capacity. In the present note, a numerical hydraulic model is coupled with physically based flow-resistance equations for gravel-bed materials and vegetation roughness elements. The resulting model is capable of simulating stage-discharge curves in channels with arbitrary cross-section geometry, gravel-bed materials and bank, and/or flood-plain vegetation, including overbank flows. The new model is demonstrated to be capable of closely replicating the stage-discharge curve at a study site on a natural river channel. Finally, the model is demonstrated using examples in which the effects on flood capacity of seasonal vegetation growth are simulated at the study site.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Flow resistance
Hydraulic models