The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Texas Water Development Board, described and characterized examples of geomorphic units within the channels and alluvial valleys of Texas Gulf Coastal Plain rivers using a geomorphic unit classification scale that differentiates geomorphic units on the basis of their location either outside or inside the river channel. The geomorphic properties of a river system determine the distribution and type of potential habitat both within and adjacent to the channel. This report characterizes the geomorphic units contained in the river channels and alluvial valleys of Texas Gulf Coastal Plain rivers in the context of the River Styles framework. This report is intended to help Texas Instream Flow Program practitioners, river managers, ecologists and biologists, and others interested in the geomorphology and the physical processes of the rivers of the Texas Gulf Coastal Plain (1) gain insights into how geomorphic units develop and adjust spatially and temporally, and (2) be able to recognize common geomorphic units from the examples cataloged in this report. Recent aerial imagery (high-resolution digital orthoimagery) collected in 2008 and 2009 were inspected by using geographic information system software to identify representative examples of the types of geomorphic units that occurred in the study area. Geomorphic units outside the channels of Texas Gulf Coastal Plain rivers are called \"valley geomorphic units\" in this report. Valley geomorphic units for the Texas Gulf Coastal Plain rivers described in this report are terraces, flood plains, crevasses and crevasse splays, flood-plain depressions, tie channels, tributaries, paleochannels, anabranches, distributaries, natural levees, neck cutoffs, oxbow lakes, and constructed channels. Channel geomorphic units occur in the river channel and are subject to frequent stresses associated with flowing water and sediment transport; they adjust (change) relatively quickly in response to short-term variations in flow. Channel geomorphic units described in this report are channel banks, benches and ledges, bank failures, point bars, cross-bar channels, channel bars, exposed bedrock, pools, runs, and crossovers.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Characterization of geomorphic units in the alluvial valleys and channels of Gulf Coastal Plain rivers in Texas, with examples from the Brazos, Sabine, and Trinity Rivers, 2010