USGS banner

SIR 2006-5108

Selection of Manning's Roughness Coefficient for Natural and Constructed Vegetated and Non-Vegetated Channels, and Vegetation Maintenance Plan Guidelines for Vegetated Channels in Central Arizona

Jeff V. Phillips and Saeid Tadayon

Download the full report (18.6 MB)


This report describes and presents the results of a study by the U.S. Geological Survey, done in cooperation with the Flood Control District of Maricopa County, to (1) describe procedures used in selection of Manning's n values coefficient, n, for stream channels located in semi-arid to arid environments, (2) describe a method for determining impact of flow on channel-vegetation conditions, and (3) describe and evaluate a new method for management of vegetation in stream channels. Verified and estimated n values for natural and constructed stream channels in Arizona have been presented in several published documents. Much of this information is in the form of guidelines, tables, figures, and examples. This information has been compiled into this comprehensive document to be used as a guideline and tool for estimating n values for hydraulic computation of flow in open channels.

Proper estimation of n values for vegetated channels in arid to semi-arid environments can present difficulties in estimating the channel's resistance to flow. For example, vegetation in ephemeral and intermittent streams may change considerably over a period of time or during a flood event. Because vegetation can be a constantly changing factor, estimating n values for the vegetation component can be difficult. Semi-empirical relations and guidelines developed to estimate impact of flow on channel-vegetation conditions are presented.

Developed engineering-based guidelines presented herein are intended to aid in optimizing the preservation of a riparian habitat and aesthetics of multi-use areas, while mitigating damage from floodflows along natural and constructed channels. The guidelines primarily are based on the vegetation component of n values that should be maintained in a waterway to allow adequate freeboard, which is an additional amount of conveyance area intended to mitigate risk by providing a factor of safety. Vegetation maintenance plan guidelines are presented, including example cases that illustrate their use.




Description of Study Area

Manning's Equaiton

Values of Manning's n For Natural and Constructed Main Channels and Overbank Areas

Vegetation Maintenance Plan Guidlines

Summary and Conclusions




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.

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 convert Adobe PDF documents into HTML or ASCII text, which then can be read by a number of common screen-reading programs that synthesize text as audible speech. In addition, an accessible version of Acrobat Reader 7.0 for Windows (English only), which contains support for screen readers, is available. These tools and the accessible reader may be obtained free from Adobe at Adobe Access

For more information about USGS activities in Arizona, visit the USGS Arizona Water Science Center home page

Send questions or comments about this report to Saeid Tadayon.

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America home page. FirstGov button U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Persistent URL:
Page Contact Information: USGS Publishing Network
Page Last Modified: November 20, 2008