Roughness Coefficients for High-Gradient Channels in New York State

by William F. Coon, U.S. Geological Survey, Ithaca, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


Manning's roughness coefficients (n values) were computed for a range of flows at six streams in New York State (USA) that have high energy gradients (greater than 0.002) and large median bed-particle sizes (between 0.14 and 0.36 meters). The coefficients, which ranged from 0.034 to 0.061 for bankfull flows, were computed from discharges, channel geometry, and water-surface profiles measured at each of the sites. An inverse relation between the n values and flow depth (or hydraulic radius) was evident at five sites. The roughness coefficient decreases rapidly with increasing depth and approaches an asymptotic value as bankfull flow is approached. At individual sites, the slope (water-surface slope and energy gradient) generally increases with increasing flow depth and is inversely related to the n value. Among the sites, however, the roughness coefficient and slope show a direct relation. The near-bankfull n values on channels with slopes between 0.008 and 0.014 were generally in the range of 0.05 to 0.06, whereas those on channels with lower slopes, between 0.004 and 0.005, were in the 0.03-to-0.04 range. Streambank vegetation has a measurable effect on the computed n values at two of the sites. Dense vegetation on one side of the medium-flow channel on Beaver Kill at Cooks Falls interrupts the decreasing trend in the roughness coefficient as the water level rises and produces higher-than-expected n values up to the point of vegetation submergence. The effects of streambank vegetation at Tremper Kill near Andes change seasonally; the n-value increases by as much as 0.012 from nongrowing to growing seasons. The effect of the vegetation decreases with increasing flow depth as a result of the decrease in energy losses as the vegetation becomes submerged and bends with the flow. Roughness coefficients, which were computed around 1950 for three of the study sites, are reasonably close to those computed in this study.

Subject Headings: Hydraulic roughness | Channels (waterway) | Vegetation | Flow measurement | Water discharge measurement | Slopes | Fluid flow | Computing in civil engineering | United States | New York | Andes

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