Figure 5.13. Channel classification showing relative stability and types of hazards encountered
with each pattern (after Shen et al. 1981).
Additional approaches to stream channel classification including those by Brice (1975),
Schumm (1977 and 1981), Montgomery and Buffington (1997), and Rosgen (1994 and 1996)
are introduced in HEC-20 (Lagasse et al. 2001). Further discussion of the opportunities and
limitations related to using stream classification for river analysis, engineering and
management can be found in Thorne (1997).
The next sections provide a brief discussion concerning the nature and stability of straight,
braided, and meandering channels. Each behaves in a slightly different way when subject to
human-related or natural impacts. A knowledge of this behavior is important in anticipating and
understanding stability problems.