USGS Logo and Link

U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
Water-Resources Investigations Report 03-4276


Regional Relations in Bankfull Channel Characteristics Determined from Flow Measurements at Selected Stream-Gaging Stations in West Virginia, 1911-2002

By: Terence Messinger and Jeffrey B. Wiley

ABSTRACT

Three bankfull channel characteristics—cross-sectional area, width, and depth—were significantly correlated with drainage area in regression equations developed for two regions in West Virginia. Channel characteristics were determined from analysis of flow measurements made at 74 U.S. Geological Survey stream-gaging stations at flows between 0.5 and 5.0 times bankfull flow between 1911 and 2002.

Graphical and regression analysis were used to delineate an "Eastern Region" and a "Western Region," which were separated by the boundary between the Appalachian Plateaus and Valley and Ridge Physiographic Provinces. Streams that drained parts of both provinces had channel characteristics typical of the Eastern Region, and were grouped with it. Standard error for the six regression equations, three for each region, ranged between 8.7 and 16 percent. Cross-sectional area and depth were greater relative to drainage area for the Western Region than they were for the Eastern Region. Regression equations were defined for streams draining between 46.5 and 1,619 square miles for the Eastern Region, and between 2.78 and 1,354 square miles for the Western Region.

Stream-gaging stations with two or more cross sections where flow had been measured at flows between 0.5 and 5.0 times the 1.5-year flow showed poor replication of channel characteristics compared to the 95-percent confidence intervals of the regression, suggesting that within-reach variability for the stream-gaging stations may be substantial. A disproportionate number of the selected stream-gaging stations were on large (drainage area greater than 100 square miles) streams in the central highlands of West Virginia, and only one stream-gaging station that met data-quality criteria was available to represent the region within about 50 miles of the Ohio River north of Parkersburg, West Virginia. Many of the cross sections were at bridges, which can change channel shape. Although the data discussed in this report may not be representative of channelcharacteristics on many or most streams, the regional equations in this report provide useful information for field identification of bankfull indicators.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Abstract

Introduction

Purpose and Scope

Description of study area

Stream gaging network in West Virginia

Historical trends in the extent of the network

Limitations of data available from the stream-gaging network

Basin characteristics of gaged streams

Acknowledgements

Methods

Standard measurement procedures at stream-gaging stations

Database construction and quality assurance procedures

Factors affecting selection of stream-gaging stations for analysis

Relations of flow with area, width, and average depth at cross sections

Bridges

Backwater

Bankfull channel characteristics and regional relations

Regional relations in bankfull channel characteristics

Cross-sectional area

Average depth

Width

Stream-gaging stations with two or more high-flow cross sections

Summary

References cited

Appendix 1

FIGURES

1–4.   Maps showing:

1. Physiographic provinces of West Virginia, and selected towns and cities

2. Altitudes in West Virginia

3. Mean annual precipitation in West Virginia

4. Two-year, 24-hour precipitation intensity, in inches, in West Virginia

5. Graph showing number of continuous-record and annual-peak stream-gaging stations in West Virginia, 1900-2001

6. Map showing selected stream-gaging stations in West Virginia


7–16.   Graphs showing:

7. Relations between area and flow for (1) all flow measurements made at the Middle Fork near Audra, W.Va., 1988-20001, and selected earlier high-flow measurements, and (2) flow measurements made from the cableway

8. Relation between cross-sectional area and flow for flow measurements made at a bridge over Big Coal River at Ashford, W.Va., and a cableway over Guyandotte River near Baileysville, W.Va., compared to the relation for each stream-gaging station for only those measurements made at flows between 0.5 and 5 times bankfull flow

9. Relation of flow and width at bridges where flow is apparently confined and not confined by the bridge structure

10. Regional relations between drainage area and bankfull cross-sectional area measured during current-meter flow measurements at selected stream-gaging stations in West Virginia

11. Comparison of the area of stream channels at bankfull flow at bridge and cableway cross sections in the Eastern and Western Regions in West Virginia

12. Comparison of the average depth of stream channels at bankfull flow at bridge and cableway cross sections in the Eastern and Western Regions in West Virginia

13. Comparison of the width of stream channels at bankfull flow at bridge and cableway cross sections in the Eastern and Western Regions in West Virginia

14. Regional relations between bankfull average depth determined from current-meter flow measurements and drainage area at selected stream-gaging stations in West Virginia

15. Regional relations between bankfull width determined from current-meter flow measurements and drainage area at selected stream-gaging stations in West Virginia

16. Relation of bankfull area, width, and average depth to drainage area at five stream-gaging stations in the Western Region with flow measurements at more than one cross section, compared to regression lines and 95 percent confidence intervals for all stream-gaging stations in the Western Region of West Virginia.

TABLES

1. Map numbers and station numbers for selected stream-gaging stations in West Virginia

2. Regression equations, correlation coefficients, and p-values for the relations between near-bankfull flow and cross-sectional area for stream-gaging stations in West Virginia used to develop regression equations

3. Regression equations, correlation coefficients, and p-values for the relations between near-bankfull flow and average depth for stream-gaging stations in West Virginia used to develop regression equations

4. Regression equations, correlation coefficients, and p-values for the relations between near-bankfull flow and width for stream-gaging stations in West Virginia used to develop regression equations

5. Equations and regression statistics describing regional relations in drainage area and bankfull channel characteristics at selected stream-gaging stations in West Virginia

VERTICAL DATUM

Vertical coordinate information is referenced to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 (NGVD 29). Altitude, as used in the report, refers to distance above or below NGVD 29. NGVD 29 can be converted to the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88) by using the National Geodetic Survey conversion utility available at URL http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/TOOLS/Vertcon/vertcon.html.

 


This report is available online in Portable Document Format (PDF). If you do not have the Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader, it is available for free download from Adobe Systems Incorporated.

Printable tabloid cover (26 KB)--1 page

View the full report in PDF (2.6 MB)

Document Accessibility:  Adobe Systems Incorporated has information about PDFs and the visually impaired. This information provides tools to help make PDF files accessible. These tools and the accessible reader may be obtained free from Adobe at Adobe Access.

For more information about USGS activities in West Virginia contact:

District Chief

U.S. Geological Survey

Water Resources Discipline

11 Dunbar Street

Charleston, West Virginia 25301

Telephone: (304) 347-5130

Fax: (304) 347-5133





U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Persistent URL: http://pubs.water.usgs.gov/wri034276
Page Contact Information: GS Pubs Web Contact
Last modified: Friday, September 16 2005, 04:23:49 PM
FirstGov button  Take Pride in America button