For the more information about the geologic resources of the National Park Service, please visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/geology/.


Geologic Monitoring

Fluvial Geomorphology

Monitoring stream morphology at Mount Rainier National Park, Washington.
Monitoring stream morphology at Mount Rainier National Park, Washington.

What is fluvial geormorphology?

Fluvial resources include rivers and streams. Fluvial geomorphology refers to the design or shape of the river or stream channel.


Why does the National Park Service monitor fluvial systems?

Most river systems are inherently dynamic. However, significant changes can cause channel instability and create hazards. Monitoring fluvial systems provides land managers with the data necessary to detect or predict channel instability.

  • Monitoring Book
  • Resource Facts
  • Case Study

Geological Monitoring Book

Vital Signs Monitored

  1. Watershed landscape
  2. Hydrology
  3. Sediment transport
  4. Channel: cross section
  5. Channel: planform
  6. Channel: longitudinal profile

Chapter 4
Fluvial Geomorphology: Monitoring Stream Systems in Response to a Changing Environment (PDF - 6.19MB)

The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of river and stream dynamics, describe possible stressors that may lead to channel instability, and provide guidelines and methods for monitoring streams and rivers. To the extent possible, in this short treatment of the subject, we aim to provide a description of methodologies that are useful to most readers.

NPS Fluvial Resource Facts

The NPS has 7 designations specific to rivers:

Monitoring Fluvial Geomorphology in the National Park Service

Case study coming soon...


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Last Updated: April 16, 2012