Fluvial Design Guide - Chapter 3 Background

Fluvial geomorphology

Suzie Maas and Andrew Brookes

This chapter provides an excellent introduction to the developing science of fluvial geomorphology and its application to the design of works in rivers and streams.

The chapter commences with a comprehensive answer to the question ‘What is fluvial geomorphology?’ and continues with a description of the main drivers of conservation and sustainability.

The role of geomorphology in fluvial design is explained, with the key issues usefully summarised in four key questions that a geomorphologist would typically ask

The various analytical and assessment ‘tools’ used by a geomorphologist are introduced and explained, and more details of each are provided in an annex to the chapter.

The chapter is completed with a series of illustrated case studies that describe the approach adopted by the geomorphologist to each particular project. These include catchment baseline survey, geomorphological scoping study, fluvial audit, geomorphology mapping, sediment modelling, monitoring of river restoration, and river reconnaissance.

Chapter Structure

3.1 What is fluvial geomorphology?

3.2 Main drivers

3.3 Role of geomorphology in fluvial design

3.4 Tools

3.5 Case studies

3.6 Conclusions

Key references

Other references

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Table 3.1

Table 3.2

Table 3.3


Inappropriate bank protection that has been outflanked and rendered useless

Suzie Maas

S Maas
Principal Geomorphologist
Fairbairn House, Ashton Lane, Sale, Manchester, M33 6WP
 0161 962 1214  0161 962 1214

Dr Suzie Maas has over ten years experience in research and consultancy and has been applying and promoting geomorphology within Jacobs since 2003. She has conducted a diverse range of projects nationally, encompassing integrated catchment management, flood risk management and river enhancement and restoration. She has also worked on numerous WFD-related projects encompassing classification, policy development and implementation.

Andrew Brookes

A Brookes
Divisional Director
School Green, Reading, Berkshire, RG2 9HL
 0118 9881555  0118 9881555

Dr Andrew Brookes has 25 years experience in water and environmental management in consultancy and as a regulator. In 2005 he won the Royal Geographical Society’s Back Award for ‘outstanding national and international contributions to applied geomorphology’. Andrew has written two books, one on the environmental impacts of river engineering schemes (1988) and another on river restoration (1996), as well as over 100 papers and articles. Andrew leads the Geomorphology Team within Jacobs and has had technical roles in strategic environmental studies, including the Lower Thames Strategy, and R&D projects related to the WFD.