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Regionalized equations for bankfull-discharge and channel characteristics of streams in New York State—Hydrologic Region 5 in central New York

April 22, 2005

Equations that relate drainage area to bankfull discharge and channel dimensions (width, depth, and cross-sectional area) at gaged sites are needed to define bankfull discharge and channel dimensions at ungaged sites and to provide information for the design of stream-restoration projects. Such equations are most accurate if derived from streams within an area of uniform hydrologic, climatic, and physiographic conditions and applied only within that region. A study to develop equations to predict bankfull data for ungaged streams in New York established eight regions that coincided with previously defined hydrologic regions. This report presents drainage areas and bankfull characteristics (discharge and channel dimensions) for streams in central New York (Region 5) selected for this pilot study.

Stream-survey data and discharge records from seven active (currently gaged) sites and nine inactive (discontinued gaged) sites were used in regression analyses to relate size of drainage area to bankfull discharge and bankfull channel width, depth, and cross-sectional area. The resulting equations are:

(1) bankfull discharge, in cubic feet per second = 45.3*(drainage area, in square miles)0.856;

(2) bankfull channel width, in feet = 13.5*(drainage area, in square miles)0.449;

(3) bankfull channel depth, in feet = 0.801*(drainage area, in square miles)0.373; and

(4) bankfull channel cross-sectional area, in square feet = 10.8*(drainage area, in square miles)0.823.

The high correlation coefficients (R2) for these four equations (0.96, 0.92, 0.91, 0.98, respectively) indicate that much of the variation in the variables is explained by the size of the drainage area. Recurrence intervals for the estimated bankfull discharge of each stream ranged from 1.11 to 3.40 years; the mean recurrence interval was 1.51 years. The 16 surveyed streams were classified by Rosgen stream type; most were mainly C-type reaches, with occasional B- and F-type reaches. The Region 5 equation was compared with equations developed for six other large areas in the Northeast. The major differences among results indicate a need to refine equations so they can be applied by water-resources managers to local planning and design efforts.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2005
Title Regionalized equations for bankfull-discharge and channel characteristics of streams in New York State—Hydrologic Region 5 in central New York
DOI 10.3133/sir20045247
Authors Britt E. Westergard, Christiane I. Mulvihill, Anne G. Ernst, Barry P. Baldigo
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2004-5247
Index ID sir20045247
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization New York Water Science Center

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