What is Bankfull Channel Geometry and Why is it important to the Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative?
Good water quality is necessary for healthy aquatic life, drinking water, recreation, and agriculture. Streams must be biologically functional and geomorphically stable to support high water quality. Changes in land use and watershed development activities can lead to changes in flow and sediment regimes. This can result in major disruptions to stream channel stability. The cumulative effects of channel and watershed disturbance can cause persistent instability problems with long-term consequences, including: accelerated streambank erosion and lateral channel migration rates; channel incision or excess sediment deposition; frequent flooding; loss of land, productive soil, buildings, and road crossings; and impairments to water quality, biological function, and scenic value. Numerous state agencies, including the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and Wyoming Department of Transportation expressed the need for regional curves related to bankfull flows for a number of applications, such as structure (for example, water diversions) design and placement, streamflow regulation, habitat monitoring and assessment, and designing restoration or habitat enhancement projects.