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Why Study A Stream’s Velocity? - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Why Study A Stream’s Velocity?. Because the speed of stream can be used to predict and assess future events and give us valuable information. Flash floods amateur footage, arid climate

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Why Study A Stream’s Velocity?

Because the speed of stream can be used to predict and assess future events and give us valuable information

  • floods amateur footage, arid climate
  • float away
  • Nechako River (During high water)
  • River (Spring time)

A stream’s velocity (or speed) effects the rate of erosion. Predicting erosion can predict floods and future changes in the stream channel.


A stream’s velocity effects the type of debris and material that it carries down the stream.

Damming and deposits of woody debris can have serious consequences.


The velocity of streams and rivers will also determine the type of sediment that is transported, called the stream load. This can be valuable info

for fisheries and the study

of spawning channels


Turbidity= cloudiness or particles in water

As turbidity rises, so does the risk of gastrointestinal illness .

While this might not be of great concern to most of us, the risk for the very young, the very old, and people with weakened immune systems can be higher.

Question: Is velocity the main cause of turbidity?

Turbidity= Boil Water Advisory


The velocity of streams and rivers gives data about what kind of changes might have to be made to the banks to prevent erosion and flooding

what effects velocity

High Velocity

High Velocity

Low Velocity

What Effects Velocity?

TheStream Gradient or Slope Does!

The slope/gradient of the stream channel = the vertical drop over a certain distance.

Question: Do mountain streams tend to have a high or low gradient?

Slopes change, THEREFORE a stream’s gradient also varies.

The steeper the gradient, the greater the energy.

The greater the velocityThe greater the effects

what other factor controls velocity
What Other Factor Controls Velocity?

Shape, Size, and Roughness of the Channel Does!

The channel controls the flow of a stream and river.

Water experiences friction at the base and this will effect the velocity of the stream.

Large channels have more efficient flow because less water is in contact with the channel.

QUESTION: What else do you think can slow flow down?

Large boulders in a channel tend to slow water flow.

Velocity is less near the banks too!

Velocity varies around bends as well!

one more factor effecting velocity
One More Factor Effecting Velocity

Stream Discharge or Volume of Flow

Discharge = Volume of water flowing past a certain point at a given time.

Crawford Ck. Discharge Rates

Discharge from streams is not constant and is controlled by other factors.


What increases discharge?


Rainfall and its runoff

Logging and land clearing.


Divide the meters by the seconds (10 / 5) = 2

10 / 6.1 = 1.64, etc.

Bob (thrower), Emily (Shouter at A), Dave (StopWatch at B), Steve (Time recorder and Calculator)













Find the average by summing the m/sec

(eg 2 + 1.64 + 1.51 + 1.4)

then divide by 4. In this case it equals

1.63 m/sec





5 min 26 secs

Multiply the 200 m. by 1.63 seconds (the average calculated last day).

200 x 1.63 = 326 seconds

or 5 minutes and 26 secs.