Three bankfull channel characteristics?cross-sectional area, width, and depth?were significantly correlated with drainage area in regression equations developed for two regions in West Virginia. Channel characteristics were determined from analysis of flow measurements made at 74 U.S. Geological Survey stream-gaging stations at flows between 0.5 and 5.0 times bankfull flow between 1911 and 2002.
Graphical and regression analysis were used to delineate an 'Eastern Region' and a 'Western Region,' which were separated by the boundary between the Appalachian Plateaus and Valley and Ridge Physiographic Provinces. Streams that drained parts of both provinces had channel characteristics typical of the Eastern Region, and were grouped with it. Standard error for the six regression equations, three for each region, ranged between 8.7 and 16 percent. Cross-sectional area and depth were greater relative to drainage area for the Western Region than they were for the Eastern Region. Regression equations were defined for streams draining between 46.5 and 1,619 square miles for the Eastern Region, and between 2.78 and 1,354 square miles for the Western Region.
Stream-gaging stations with two or more cross sections where flow had been measured at flows between 0.5 and 5.0 times the 1.5-year flow showed poor replication of channel characteristics compared to the 95-percent confidence intervals of the regression, suggesting that within-reach variability for the stream-gaging stations may be substantial. A disproportionate number of the selected stream-gaging stations were on large (drainage area greater than 100 square miles) streams in the central highlands of West Virginia, and only one stream-gaging station that met data-quality criteria was available to represent the region within about 50 miles of the Ohio River north of Parkersburg, West Virginia. Many of the cross sections were at bridges, which can change channel shape. Although the data discussed in this report may not be representative of channelcharacteristics on many or most streams, the regional equations in this report provide useful information for field identification of bankfull indicators.