Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

F.W. Beaver


Restoration of riparian corridors and stream channels is important for many reasons, including preserving water quality, maintaining channel stability and controlling floods. Regional hydraulic geometry curves allow estimation of stable hydraulic geometry relationships that are necessary to engineer successful restoration projects. These curves can also be used to approximate discharge data for ungaged streams with lmown hydraulic geometry and drainage area. Hydraulic geometry data were collected in the field for twenty-five stream gage sites in the Red River of the North Basin. Recurrence intervals for bankfull ranged from 1.2 to 1.6 years, with an average recurrence interval of 1.4. Discharge and drainage area data were then plotted in groupings using Level III ecoregions (Omernik et al 1998), watershed accounting unit (State of North Dakota 1974), Rosgen stream type, and entrenched versus unentrenched streams. Linear regression analysis was used to determine the most accurate strategy for grouping data to generate the regional curve.

Regional curves in the Red River of the North Basin were found to be most accurate based on USGS accounting units. The average correlation coefficient for this strategy was 0.62. The best fit in this grouping compared contributing drainage area (CDA) to ball discharge (BFQ), with a correlation coefficient of 0.86. The lowest fit in this category compared total drainage area (TDA) to mean depth (MD), with a correlation coefficient of only 0.39, suggesting that this equation be used with extreme caution. The best fit overall using linear regression compared bankfull discharge (BFQ) to bankfull cross-sectional area (XSA) by entrenchment, with a correlation coefficient of 0.87, however, the overall category correlation coefficients ranged from 0.13 to 0.87, with an average of only 0.42, so this grouping does not show a good fit overall.

While it should be used with caution, and similar reaches on the same stream should also be taken into consideration, a regional curve for the Red River of the North Basin based on USGS accounting units provides a valuable tool for estimating stable hydraulic geometry measurements for restoration projects.

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Geology Commons