Bankfull hydraulic geometry relationships for the Inner and Outer Bluegrass regions of Kentucky

Carmen Agouridis, Ruth Brockman, Stephen Workman, Lindell Ormsbee, Alex Fogle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Bankfull hydraulic geometry relationships relate bankfull stream dimensions, such as cross-sectional area, width, mean depth, mean velocity, width to depth ratio, and slope to bankfull discharge. These relationships can assist in determining a design discharge for stream restoration and management projects. This study assessed 27 stable streams located in the Inner Bluegrass and Outer Bluegrass regions of Kentucky. Reaches were selected based on the presence of a U.S. Geological Survey gage, as well as other conditions such as presence of readily identifiable bankfull indicators, stability indices, and site accessibility. Bankfull channel dimensions and discharges were determined, and hydraulic geometry relationships were developed for both the Inner Bluegrass and Outer Bluegrass regions. These scaling relationships for karst-influenced streams were similar to others reported in the literature for non-karst areas. Significant differences between the regions were found only for bankfull width and width-to-depth ratio. Streams in the Inner Bluegrass tended to be more narrow and deep at bankfull discharges less than 10 m3s-1 and wider and shallower at bankfull discharges greater than 20 m3s-1 as compared to stream in the Outer Bluegrass. It is suspected that physiographic conditions related to local geology and/or riparian vegetation at three sites in the Outer Bluegrass accounted for these differences. Results of this study indicate that in instances of geologic variation within a physiographic region, hydraulic geometry relationships may require evaluation at the watershed scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)923-948
Number of pages26
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2011

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2011 by the authors.


  • Bankfull discharge
  • Geomorphology
  • Hydrology
  • Natural channel design
  • Stream restoration
  • karst

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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