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The channel migration toolbox: ArcGIS® tools for measuring stream channel migration

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Author(s): Nicholas T. Legg, Christina Heimburg, Brian D. Collins, Patricia L. Olson

Document Type: Publication no. 14-06-032
Publisher: Washington Department of Ecology
Published Year: 2014
Pages: 14
DOI Identifier:
ISBN Identifier:

Managing for migration (lateral movement) of stream channels reduces risk to communities in floodplains as well as improves floodplain health. A common management tool is a Channel Migration Zone (CMZ). CMZ mapping is required by the Washington State Shoreline Management Act and its implementing administrative code. CMZ mapping projects often require the measurement of lateral migration rates using change in the position of mapped historical channels through time. The Channel Migration Toolbox contains four tools that help automate the measurement of channel migration rates in the geographical information system (GIS) software ESRI® ArcGIS. Practitioners are often interested in average channel migration rates measured along entire channel reaches, and then variability in channel migration rates within reaches. Variability can be evaluated by measuring migration along multiple transects drawn perpendicular to the channel. Accordingly, the tools allow measurement of channel migration rates averaged along reaches and measured directly at multiple transects. The tools include:

Tool 1. Reach-average channel migration
Tool 2. Transect generation
Tool 3. Transect channel migration
Tool 4. Transect channel width

Tools 1, 3, and 4 perform measurements across multiple time periods within the historical record. Tools 1 and 3 measure channel migration as the change in position of the channel centerlines through time. Tool 2 generates evenly-spaced transects required for Tools 3 and 4.v

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Suggested Citations:
In Text Citation:
Legg and others (2014) or (Legg et al., 2014)

References Citation:
Legg, N.T., C. Heimburg, B.D. Collins, and P.L. Olson, 2014, The channel migration toolbox: ArcGIS® tools for measuring stream channel migration: Publication no. 14-06-032, Washington Department of Ecology, 14 p..