Skip links and keyboard navigation

River classification attributes (Module 3)

The Interim Queensland River Classification Scheme (the QRCS) has been developed using an attribute-based classification approach. The attributes fall into 8 themes including climate, terrain, geology, substrate (physical and chemical), hydrology (physical and chemical), and biota.

Attribute qualifiers provide extra information on the category of an attribute and are similar to modifiers in other classification schemes[1].

The QRCS features eight levels or scales at which attributes can be determined. This is to ensure that the scheme can be applied by a wide variety of scientists and practitioners at different scales. The regional, landscape and habitat levels are compatible with the ANAE (national) classification.

The collapsible list below lists all of the QRCS attributes, nested within the relevant themes. Clicking on each attribute or using the search function expands each attribute to provide a description and rationale for use. Select attributes also contain references and links, and relevant categories.

Some of the QRCS attributes can be measured in a number of ways, applying statistical or spatial measures. Possible examples inlcude:

Statistical measures Spatial measures
Average Width
Minimum Density
Maximum Fragmentation
Variability Continuity
Instantaneous Patchiness

Enter text below to search river classification attributes:

help

Displaying * of * attributes

  • Biota
    • Bare ground
      • Theme
        Biota
        Attribute
        Bare ground
        Description
        The amount of bare ground in a given area. This does not include areas of biofilms and dead vegetation.
        Rationale for use
        The amount of bare ground can be an indicator of the surface properties of an area such as the resistance to erosion. This is often determined as a percentage.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Bioregion
      • Theme
        Biota
        Attribute
        Bioregion
        Description
        Bioregions delineate regions with a similar set of major environmental influences (climate, geomorphology, landforms and lithology) that shape the occurrence of flora and fauna and their interaction with the physical environment.
        Rationale for use
        There are 13 bioregions in Queensland which describe the primary level of biodiversity. The bioregion is the first level of classification under the Regional Ecosystem framework.
        References and links
        Categories
        • Brigalow Belt (BRB)
        • Cape York Peninsula (CYP)
        • Central Queensland Coast (CQC)
        • Channel Country (CHC)
        • Desert Uplands (DEU)
        • Einasleigh Uplands (EIU)
        • Gulf Plains (GUP)
        • Mitchell Grass Downs (MGD)
        • Mulga Lands (MUL)
        • New England Tableland (NET)
        • Northwest Highlands (NWH)
        • South East Queensland (SEQ)
        • Wet Tropics (WET)
    • Crown cover
      • Theme
        Biota
        Attribute
        Crown cover
        Description
        Crown cover, frequently referred to as canopy cover, is the percentage of the ground surface covered by the vertical projection of the periphery of plant crowns.
        Rationale for use
        Crown cover influences rain splash erosion as the canopy intercepts the rain and also provides shading. The canopy can be indicative of evapotranspiration, and the ground area of roots. This may be determined spatially as fragmentation or density.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Flora composition of dominant macro- and benthic algae
      • Theme
        Biota
        Attribute
        Flora composition of dominant macro- and benthic algae
        Description
        The dominant type of macro- and benthic algae that contributes most to the overall above-substrate biomass of the ecosystem.
        Rationale for use
        This can be used to describe the habitat and primary productivity in a specified area.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • diatoms
        • cyanobacteria
        • filamentous algae
        • periphyton
        • macroalgae
    • Flora composition of dominant plants
      • Theme
        Biota
        Attribute
        Flora composition of dominant plants
        Description
        Flora composition refers to the genus of dominant or predominant flora, that is the species that contributes most to the overall above-ground biomass of the ecosystem.
        Rationale for use
        This attribute can be used to help describe the likely habitat that an area may provide.
        References and links
        Categories
        • Acacia
        • Allocasuarina and Casuarina
        • Corymbia, Eucalyptus and Melaleuca
        • Chenopodium, Maireana and Tecticornia
        • Eleocharis, Gahnia, and Lepironia
        • Eragrostis and Sporobolus
        • Mangrove genera
        • Other
        • Mixed
        • Palm genera
    • Flora growth form
      • Theme
        Biota
        Attribute
        Flora growth form
        Description
        Growth form refers to the growth form of vegetation in the ecologically dominant stratum.
        Rationale for use
        The morphological characteristics of vegetation can indicate the likely processes they influence. Different growth forms have varying resistance to flow and to wind which in turn alters their influence on sediment transport.
        References and links
        Categories
        • Grasses, sedges, and herbs
        • Shrubs
        • Trees
        • Floating macrophytes
        • Submerged macrophytes
        • Emergent macrophytes
        • Macrophyte with floating leaves
        • Epilithic
        • Epiphytic
        • Other
    • Flora growth height
      • Theme
        Biota
        Attribute
        Flora growth height
        Description
        Growth height refers to the height of vegetation in the ecologically dominant stratum relative to their growth form.
        Rationale for use
        The height of trees relative to the bankfull width of a channel influences how the wood may be arranged in the channel if it falls. If the tree is longer than the bankfull width it can bridge the channel and is more likely to form jams.
        References and links
        Categories
        • tall
        • regular
        • low
        • dwarf
        • not applicable
        • unknown
        • ground
    • Gross primary production (GPP)
      • Theme
        Biota
        Attribute
        Gross primary production (GPP)
        Description
        The total amount of carbon that is fixed by primary producers during photosynthesis over a set time interval. This is usually evaluated over a 24 hour cycle.
        Rationale for use
        This attribute is one of a suite of measures of ecosystem metabolism and influences ecological processes at different scales.
        References and links
        Categories
        -
    • Net ecosystem metabolism
      • Theme
        Biota
        Attribute
        Net ecosystem metabolism
        Description
        Overall metabolism of the system based on balance between gross primary production and respiration. This is usually evaluated over a 24 hour cycle.
        Rationale for use
        This attribute is an overall measure of ecosystem metabolism and influences ecological processes at different scales.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • autotrophic
        • heterotrophic
        • balanced
    • Presence of bioengineered substrate
      • Theme
        Biota
        Attribute
        Presence of bioengineered substrate
        Description
        The presence of engineered substrate from fauna that modify substrate characteristics. Examples of fauna that modify substrate include atyid shrimp, crayfish, carp, platypus, bony bream and pigs.
        Rationale for use
        The action of the substrate being bioengineered can create habitat areas for other species and may also contribute to erosion issues.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • presence
        • absence
    • Presence of in-channel non-wetland indicator species
      • Theme
        Biota
        Attribute
        Presence of in-channel non-wetland indicator species
        Description
        The presence of non-wetland indicator species growing in the channel. These plants are not specifically adapted to be wetland species.
        Rationale for use
        The presence of these species can be an indicator of past disturbances or changes. They may indicate a completely disconnected channel or an ephemeral system going through a major drying period. Their presence may be measured as a count, density or fragmentation. A list of flora wetland indicator species is available.
        References and links
        Categories
        • presence
        • absence
    • Regional Ecosystem
    • Respiration
      • Theme
        Biota
        Attribute
        Respiration
        Description
        The conversion of organic carbon to carbon dioxide by metabolic processes. This is usually evaluated over a 24 hour cycle.
        Rationale for use
        This attribute is one of a suite of measures of ecosystem metabolism and influences ecological processes at different scales.
        References and links
        Categories
        -
    • Root density
      • Theme
        Biota
        Attribute
        Root density
        Description
        The root density in a specified volume.
        Rationale for use
        The density of roots provides an indication of the strength that plants may provide to a soil or sediment. This is often measured as an average or maximum, or may separately be calculated for sub-aerial roots.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Root depth
      • Theme
        Biota
        Attribute
        Root depth
        Description
        The root depth that plants penetrate into the riverbed or riverbank.
        Rationale for use
        The rooting depth can influence the strength of a riverbank. Understanding the rooting depth relative to the height of the riverbank helps in predicting the influence of the roots on erosion processes. This is often measured as an average or maximum.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Timing of leaf drop
      • Theme
        Biota
        Attribute
        Timing of leaf drop
        Description
        The dominant timing of leaf drop.
        Rationale for use
        This may alter the input of nutrients into the river.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • none
        • constant
        • dry season
        • autumn
    • Vegetation cover
      • Theme
        Biota
        Attribute
        Vegetation cover
        Description
        Vegetation cover is the percentage of the ground or water surface covered by vegetation and biological crusts in contact with the soil surface or the vertical projection of the periphery of plant crowns. It incorporates crown cover and the foliage projective cover of the ground layer.
        Rationale for use
        Vegetation cover is a more encompassing attribute than 'Crown cover' and includes all vegetation rather than just the predominant canopy layer. This can, for example, be used to look at the effects of raindrop impact and its implications on soil erosion.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Vegetation palatability
      • Theme
        Biota
        Attribute
        Vegetation palatability
        Description
        The likelihood that the vegetation will be consumed by fauna.
        Rationale for use
        The palatability of vegetation indicates its likely residence time.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • high
        • medium
        • low
        • unknown
    • Vegetation roughness
      • Theme
        Biota
        Attribute
        Vegetation roughness
        Description
        The cumulative roughness that vegetation places on flow in an area.
        Rationale for use
        Vegetation roughness is often combined with substrate roughness and channel form to give a value of hydraulic resistance.
        References and links
        Augustijn, DCM, Huthoff, F & van Velzen, EH (2008), 'Comparison of vegetation roughness descriptions', Proceedings of River Flow 2008 - Fourth International Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics. [online], pp. 343-350. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/254859232_Comparison_of_vegetation_roughness_descriptions.
        Categories
        • low
        • medium
        • high
        • unknown
    • Wetland Habitat
      • Theme
        Biota
        Attribute
        Wetland Habitat
        Description
        Wetland habitats represent a typology based on climate class, floodplain, flora composition, flora growth form, freshwater biogeographic province, groundwater flow system, permanence of water, salinity, source aquifer, substrate composition, substrate grain size, and wetland system.
        Rationale for use
        This typology groups ecosystems for general management and planning purposes.
        References and links
        Categories
        -
  • Climate
    • Air temperature
      • Theme
        Climate
        Attribute
        Air temperature
        Description
        The temperature of the air.
        Rationale for use
        This is often measured as an average, maximum or minimum value. Measures such as the multi-decadal mean annual daily temperature are also used. The air temperature affects the ground surface and vegetation and may influence the type of vegetation present.
        References and links
        Categories
        -
    • Aridity index
      • Theme
        Climate
        Attribute
        Aridity index
        Description
        Aridity index refers to an indicator of the degree of dryness of the climate at a given location based on mean annual precipitation and mean evapotranspiration.
        Rationale for use
        The aridity index can be used to indicate areas suitable for different land uses, and may help identify channels with intermittent or ephemeral flows.
        References and links
        Categories
        • energy limited
        • equivalent
        • water limited
        • unknown
    • Climate class
      • Theme
        Climate
        Attribute
        Climate class
        Description
        Climate classes represent six major groups at the regional scale considering the climatic limitations of native vegetation. Climate classes at the landscape scale refine these major groups into 27 groups considering the seasonal distribution of temperature and precipitation.
        Rationale for use
        These classes are an objective way to classify climate, based on the Köppen scheme. Classification incorporates mean monthly rainfall, annual rainfall, maximum temperatures, and minimum temperatures based on the standard 30-year period from 1961-1990.
        References and links
        Categories
        • Equatorial
        • Tropical
        • Subtropical
        • Desert
        • Grassland
        • Temperate
    • Dominant energy source
      • Theme
        Climate
        Attribute
        Dominant energy source
        Description
        The dominant source of energy within the system.
        Rationale for use
        Often the ecosystem is adapted to the dominant energy source.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • water
        • air
        • heat
        • light
    • Effective precipitation
      • Theme
        Climate
        Attribute
        Effective precipitation
        Description
        The average amount of precipitation that reaches a stream channel as direct runoff. This is usually calculated by subtracting the amount of evapotranspiration in an area from the total precipitation over the same area and duration.
        Rationale for use
        This is often measured as an average or variability. Knowledge of the amount of runoff from effective precipitation can be used to help estimate other sources of water in the channel.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Evaporation
      • Theme
        Climate
        Attribute
        Evaporation
        Description
        A measure of the amount of surface liquid water transformed to water vapour.
        Rationale for use
        The amount of evaporation can alter the amount of precipitation that is available as runoff. This may be determined as a total, average, variability or maximum.
        References and links
        Categories
        -
    • Evapotranspiration
      • Theme
        Climate
        Attribute
        Evapotranspiration
        Description
        A measure of the combined loss of water by evaporation and transpiration.
        Rationale for use
        The amount of evapotranspiration can alter the amount of precipitation that is available as runoff. Evapotranspiration is more difficult to measure than evaporation as it requires measuring the amount of water being transpired by plants.
        References and links
        Categories
        -
    • Heat/terrestrial radiation
      • Theme
        Climate
        Attribute
        Heat/terrestrial radiation
        Description
        The average amount of heat emitted as surface terrestrial radiation.
        Rationale for use
        The amount of heat, for example, can influence the rate and volume of evaporation. This attribute is usually evaluated as an annual average.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Kinetic energy of raindrops
      • Theme
        Climate
        Attribute
        Kinetic energy of raindrops
        Description
        As raindrops fall from the sky they gain kinetic energy due to gravity.
        Rationale for use
        The kinetic energy of raindrops can be used as an indicator of their potential to detach soil, often measured using a rainfall intensity relationship. The kinetic energy of rain, both volume-specific and time-specific, can affect the rain erosivity index and the detachment of soil particles.
        References and links
        Salles, C, Poesen, J & Sempere-Torres, D (February 2002), 'Kinetic energy of rain and its functional relationship with intensity', Journal of Hydrology. [online], vol. 257, no. 1-4, pp. 256-270. Available at: https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0022169401005558 [Accessed 5 October 2023].
        Categories
        -
    • Light/solar radiation
      • Theme
        Climate
        Attribute
        Light/solar radiation
        Description
        The amount of light or solar radiation.
        Rationale for use
        This is usually evaluated as an annual average. Solar radiation can control other processes such as photosynthesis.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Phase-offset
      • Theme
        Climate
        Attribute
        Phase-offset
        Description
        Phase-offset refers to the difference (in months) between the timing of maximum mean annual precipitation and mean potential evapotranspiration.
        Rationale for use
        This attribute displays the variability in the supply of water and energy, which ultimately drives the surface freshwater availability in Australia.
        References and links
        Categories
        • in phase
        • out of phase
        • very out of phase
    • Potential evapotranspiration
      • Theme
        Climate
        Attribute
        Potential evapotranspiration
        Description
        The transfer of water, as water vapour, to the atmosphere from vegetated and un-vegetated land surfaces.
        Rationale for use
        This may be determined as a total, average, variability or total maximum. Potential evapotranspiration is calculated as the amount of evapotranspiration that would occur assuming that a sufficient water source is available. This attribute can inform a water balance for an area.
        References and links
        Categories
        • very low
        • low
        • moderate
        • high
        • very high
        • unknown
    • Precipitation
      • Theme
        Climate
        Attribute
        Precipitation
        Description
        The amount of precipitation that an area receives over a specified period of time.
        Rationale for use
        This is often reported as the annual average. The total precipitation that falls in an area can be indicative of the likely river discharges and sediment loads. High discharges often result in continuous river systems with higher sediment loads. Low discharges can mean lower sediment yields and may mean less well developed channels. There are also linkages with likely vegetation cover.
        References and links
        Categories
        • extremely low
        • very low
        • low
        • mild
        • moderate
        • high
        • very high
        • extremely high
        • unknown
    • Precipitation timing
      • Theme
        Climate
        Attribute
        Precipitation timing
        Description
        The month that receives the highest monthly rainfall, whereby the monthly average is calculated using 30 years of monthly gridded rainfall data between 1981 and 2010.
        Rationale for use
        This can be useful to understand seasonal patterns of precipitation.
        References and links
        Categories
        • January
        • February
        • March
        • April
        • May
        • June
        • July
        • August
        • September
        • October
        • November
        • December
    • Relative humidity
      • Theme
        Climate
        Attribute
        Relative humidity
        Description
        The amount of moisture in the air as a percentage of the amount the air can hold.
        Rationale for use
        Humidity can, for example, be used to understand the likely conditions for plant growth. This may be measured and averaged over several time intervals (e.g. hourly) to give a daily average.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Wind direction
      • Theme
        Climate
        Attribute
        Wind direction
        Description
        The dominant wind direction based on the direction the wind originates from.
        Rationale for use
        The dominant wind direction could be used to assess the dominant wave direction in a body of water. This has implications for sediment transport and erosion.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • North
        • North East
        • East
        • South East
        • South
        • South West
        • West
        • North West
        • Unknown
    • Wind velocity
      • Theme
        Climate
        Attribute
        Wind velocity
        Description
        The speed of the wind in an area.
        Rationale for use
        Wind speed influences the rate of aeolian transport. Areas with consistently high wind speeds can also restrict the type of vegetation that can grow. This attribute is usually evaluated as an annual average.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
  • Geology
    • Geology
      • Theme
        Geology
        Attribute
        Geology
        Description
        Physical characteristics of underlying rock.
        Rationale for use
        The underlying geology can control interactions with groundwater, the surface soil type and depth, and the slope.
        References and links
        Categories
        • Igneous rock
        • Metamorphic rock
        • Sedimentary rock
        • Sedimentary rock - clastic
        • Sedimentary rock - clastic - pyroclastic
        • Sedimentary rock - clastic - other
        • Sedimentary rock - chemical
        • Sedimentary rock - organic
        • Unknown
  • Hydrology (chemical)
    • Alkalinity
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Alkalinity
        Description
        Alkalinity is a measure of the capacity of water to neutralise added acid.
        Rationale for use
        The alkalinity is often used to describe the buffering capacity of a system.
        References and links
        Categories
        -
    • Clarity
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Clarity
        Description
        A measure of the transparency of water, typically measured using a Secchi disc. The depth to which the black and white markings on a Secchi disc can be clearly seen from the surface of the water provides an indication of light penetration.
        Rationale for use
        Clarity provides information on light availability for algae, submerged plants and aquatic growth.
        References and links
        Categories
        -
    • Colour
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Colour
        Description
        Colour is a measure of light 'quality' of water and results from light attenuation and scattering by dissolved matter and suspended particulates. True colour is colour of water with particulates (>0.45µm) removed.
        Rationale for use
        The colour of natural water is mainly derived from dissolved organic matter such as humic and fulvic acids from soils and decaying organic matter. Waste discharge, dissolution of metals, oxidisation and bacteria can also influence water colour. Water colour impacts the light availability for aquatic plants (i.e. macrophytes) to grow and survive. Water colour can also impact aquatic ecosystems by interfering with interactions of species and their food source. High humic waters can disturb prey detection and foraging ability of fish species to source their food.
        References and links
        Categories
        -
    • Hardness
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Hardness
        Description
        A total measure of major cations in water, predominantly calcium and magnesium.
        Rationale for use
        Water hardness can alter the type of chemical reactions taking place in the water and may also be a habitat requirement for some species of biota.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Mixing state
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Mixing state
        Description
        Characterises the homogeneity of the water column.
        Rationale for use
        Stratification and mixing states can have a huge influence on water quality and ecology. This attribute may need a period qualifier attached to it as the mixing state may change seasonally.
        References and links
        Categories
        • stratified
        • partially mixed
        • well mixed
        • unknown
    • Suspended load
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Suspended load
        Description
        The portion of river sediment load carried suspended in the water column for a time. It may remain suspended or settle to the bed.
        Rationale for use
        The suspended load can influence the clarity of the water changing the habitat for biota. The suspended load is also part of the sediment budget for the river system.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Suspended sediment hysteresis
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Suspended sediment hysteresis
        Description
        This describes the nonlinear relationship between discharge and suspended sediment concentration.
        Rationale for use
        This often reflects a lag time between peak discharge and suspended sediment concentration or sediment exhaustion before the peak. A clockwise hysteresis loop is when sediment concentrations are higher on the rising limb of the hydrograph compared to the falling limb.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • none
        • clockwise
        • anticlockwise
    • Total dissolved load
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Total dissolved load
        Description
        The portion of the river sediment load carried in solution. Solutes may be organic and inorganic and are usually <0.45µm in diameter.
        Rationale for use
        The dissolved load is a proportion of the sediment budget of the system. The concentration of ions in the dissolved load can create different habitat conditions.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Total Suspended Solids
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Total Suspended Solids
        Description
        Small particles of insoluble material (sediment, plankton, organic matter) suspended in water.
        Rationale for use
        These particles affect the clarity of the water.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Trophic state
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Trophic state
        Description
        A measure of the productivity of aquatic ecosystems, in terms of organic carbon produced per unit of time and surface. Waters with low productivity are termed oligotrophic and waters with high productivity eutrophic.
        Rationale for use
        This provides an understanding of the primary productivity in a body of water.
        References and links
        Categories
        • eutrophic
        • mesotrophic
        • oligotrophic
        • unknown
    • Turbidity
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Turbidity
        Description
        A measure of the 'cloudiness' of water, often measured as light scattering by suspended particles in the water column.
        Rationale for use
        It can provide an indirect indication of both light penetration and suspended solids but the relationships between turbidity and these other indicators vary in different waters.
        References and links
        Categories
        -
    • Wash load
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Wash load
        Description
        The portion of river sediment load that does not interact with the bed. It is kept permanently in suspension.
        Rationale for use
        These particles affect the clarity of the water. The wash load is also part of the sediment budget for the river system.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Water - ammonia nitrogen
    • Water - bioavailable nitrogen
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Water - bioavailable nitrogen
        Description
        The forms of nitrogen in water that directly support biological processes such as growth of phytoplankton. This includes dissolved and particulate inorganic nitrogen and mineralisable forms of organic nitrogen.
        Rationale for use
        Bioavailable nitrogen indicates the proportion of total nitrogen that is available to biota.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Water - bioavailable phosphorous
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Water - bioavailable phosphorous
        Description
        The forms of phosphorus in water that directly support biological processes such as growth of phytoplankton. This includes filterable reactive phosphorus and mineralisable forms of organic phosphorus.
        Rationale for use
        Bioavailable phosphorous indicates the proportion of total phosphorus that is available to biota.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Water - dissolved inorganic nitrogen
    • Water - dissolved organic carbon
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Water - dissolved organic carbon
        Description
        A measure of the dissolved (<0.45µm) forms of organic carbon in the water.
        Rationale for use
        Dissolved organic carbon is used by heterotrophic microorganisms to fuel biological processes. Dissolved organic carbon can be detrimental to water quality in high concentration as decomposition can use up available dissolved oxygen.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Water - Dissolved organic nitrogen
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Water - Dissolved organic nitrogen
        Description
        A measure of the dissolved (<0.45µm) forms of organic nitrogen in water. Calculated by subtracting dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) from total dissolved nitrogen.
        Rationale for use
        Organic forms of nitrogen can be less favourable for biotic uptake as energy is required to metabolise organic forms for use in biological processes. Organic forms are often the major component of total nitrogen.
        References and links
        Categories
        -
    • Water - dissolved oxygen concentration
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Water - dissolved oxygen concentration
        Description
        Dissolved oxygen in water is essential for life processes of most aquatic organisms, and is influenced by photosynthesis, respiration and atmospheric exchange processes.
        Rationale for use
        Stagnant water, small waterhole surface area and a long duration between flow events can cause low DO levels. Low DO levels can contribute significant stress to aquatic species and in extreme cases result in fish kills.
        References and links
        Categories
        -
    • Water - dissolved oxygen saturation
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Water - dissolved oxygen saturation
        Description
        Dissolved oxygen saturation in water is a measure of dissolved oxygen relative to the maximum concentration at equilibrium given salinity, temperature and atmospheric pressure.
        Rationale for use
        Dissolved oxygen saturation provides an indication of oxygen availability, use and production.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Water - electrical conductivity
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Water - electrical conductivity
        Description
        A measure of the amount of dissolved salts in the water, and therefore an indicator of salinity.
        Rationale for use
        Variability in conductivity may occur between water bodies due to different geological and soil conditions in a catchment. Low flows can induce high conductivity through evaporative concentration of dissolved salts. Fish or invertebrates may be adapted to certain ranges of conductivity, and shifts beyond natural ranges can reduce habitat suitability or become toxic at high concentration.
        References and links
        Categories
        -
    • Water - filterable reactive phosphorus
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Water - filterable reactive phosphorus
        Description
        A measure of all forms of phosphorus in water that pass through an 0.45µm filter and react with molybdenum blue reagent. This fraction is largely comprised of orthophosphate.
        Rationale for use
        Filterable reactive phosphorus is a readily available form of phosphorus for biotic uptake and biological processes.
        References and links
        Categories
        -
    • Water - ionic composition
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Water - ionic composition
        Description
        Describes the relative abundance of major anions and cations in the water.
        Rationale for use
        Ionic composition can be used to trace changes in chemical composition of the water, indicating mixing of water or contamination.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Water - oxidised nitrogen
    • Water - pH
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Water - pH
        Description
        pH refers to the acidity or alkalinity of water on a scale of 0 to 14.
        Rationale for use
        pH has a major impact on both habitat conditions and biota found at a location. pH may be influenced by the surrounding landscape (geological setting, water balance, quality, type of soils, vegetation and land use) which in turn dictates habitat of the aquatic environment. Changes in pH can influence the survival of organisms if it is outside of their usual habitat range. The acidity or alkalinity can alter chemical processes in the water.
        References and links
        Categories
        • Hyper acidic (0-2)
        • Acidic (3-5)
        • Neutral (6-8)
        • Alkaline (9-11)
        • Hyper alkaline (12-14)
        • Unknown
    • Water - redox potential
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Water - redox potential
        Description
        A measure of the overall reducing or oxidising capacity of the water.
        Rationale for use
        Redox potential is a controlling factor of oxidation-reduction reactions critical to nutrient and carbon cycles.
        References and links
        Categories
        -
    • Water - salinity
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Water - salinity
        Description
        Salinity refers to the amount of dissolved salt in the water.
        Rationale for use
        The salinity has a major impact on both habitat conditions and biota found at a location. Salinity can also cause flocculation of cohesive particles such as silts and clays.
        References and links
        Categories
        • fresh
        • brackish
        • saline
        • hypersaline
        • unknown
    • Water - temperature
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Water - temperature
        Description
        A measure of the degree of hotness or coldness of water.
        Rationale for use
        Changes in temperature may affect biota, and physical and chemical processes. This is often measured daily or across a season.
        References and links
        Categories
        -
    • Water - total nitrogen
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Water - total nitrogen
        Description
        A measure of all forms of nitrogen in water.
        Rationale for use
        Total nitrogen indicates the amount of nitrogen in the water that is both bioavailable and non- bioavailable.
        References and links
        Categories
        -
    • Water - total phosphorous
      • Theme
        Hydrology (chemical)
        Attribute
        Water - total phosphorous
        Description
        A measure of all forms of phosphorus in water.
        Rationale for use
        Total phosphorous indicates the amount of phosphorous in the water that is both bioavailable and non- bioavailable.
        References and links
        Categories
        -
  • Hydrology (physical)
    • Aquifer confinement
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Aquifer confinement
        Description
        Aquifer confinement is the level of interaction of the source aquifer with ground surfaces conditions (e.g. rainfall). Aquifers can range in their degree of confinement.
        Rationale for use
        Understanding the confinement of an aquifer can indicate how susceptible it is to changes in surface conditions such as point source or diffuse pollution.
        References and links
        Categories
        • confined
        • unconfined
        • semiconfined
    • Aquifer Groundwater Flow System
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Aquifer Groundwater Flow System
        Description
        Aquifer Groundwater Flow Systems depict groundwater flow systems at a habitat scale based on their hydrogeological characteristics using a combination of geology, geomorphology and topographical information.
        Rationale for use
        Groundwater flow systems are characterised by their flow path lengths and corresponding ability to respond to hydrological change caused by alteration to the natural environment.
        References and links
        Categories
        • local flow system
        • intermediate flow system
        • regional flow system
        • perched flow system
        • unknown
    • Aquifer name
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Aquifer name
        Description
        Name of the source aquifer or aquifer ecosystem.
        Rationale for use
        Commonly the name of the source aquifer refers to the geological formation in which it exists.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • For full list refer to REDD database
    • Bankfull discharge
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Bankfull discharge
        Description
        Discharge at a point in the river that occurs at bankfull water height.
        Rationale for use
        This is a standardised measure of the volume of water that is being moved through the channel. This measurement is a way to compare different river systems.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Catchment channel flow yield
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Catchment channel flow yield
        Description
        The discharge for a time interval divided by the catchment area (volume/area). This is often calculated annually.
        Rationale for use
        This is a standardised approach to compare the volume discharged from a catchment so that different sized catchments can be compared. This may be determined as an average, minimum or variability.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Channel flood frequency
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Channel flood frequency
        Description
        The frequency of floods that a channel experiences. This is frequently described as either the annual exceedance probability (AEP) or the average recurrence interval (ARI).
        Rationale for use
        The AEP describes the probability of a certain discharge magnitude occurring in a single year and is measured as a percentage. If a flood has an AEP of 1%, it has a one in 100 likelihood of occurring in any given year. Alternatively, the ARI describes the average time period between discharges of a certain magnitude. An ARI of 100 years means a discharge is likely to occur once every 100 years. ARI is often used for planning purposes, however the AEP is a more intuitive measure.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Channel flow discharge
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Channel flow discharge
        Description
        The volume of water that flows through a point in the river in a specified period of time. It is often quantified annually as ML/year. It is also frequently calculated at the end catchment outlet.
        Rationale for use
        This is a comparative measure of how much water is being transferred through the river channels. This may be determined as an average, variability, minimum or maximum. Sometimes the relative timing of peaks in the hydrograph are considered.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Degree of hyporheic connectivity
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Degree of hyporheic connectivity
        Description
        Describes the degree of connection between the water column and the hyporheic zone.
        Rationale for use
        The connection of the hyporheic zone with the channel can change the water chemistry and temperature.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Degree of parafluvial connectivity
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Degree of parafluvial connectivity
        Description
        Describes the degree of connection between the water column and the parafluvial zone.
        Rationale for use
        The connection of the parafluvial zone with the channel can change the water chemistry and temperature.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Energy
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Energy
        Description
        The energy that a body of water exerts on its boundary. One way this can be quantified is by stream power.
        Rationale for use
        The range in stream power provides information about how the energy in the channel changes. Is it consistently high or does it have a high point and then decline, or is it consistently low?
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Floodplain flood velocity
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Floodplain flood velocity
        Description
        The velocity of water on the floodplain.
        Rationale for use
        The speed of water on the floodplain can help determine its ability to erode and deposit sediment. This can be determined at specified heights/stages during the flood.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Flow response (lag) time
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Flow response (lag) time
        Description
        This is the elapsed time between peak precipitation in an event and peak discharge. Lag time can be influenced by a range of factors including catchment size, slope, vegetation coverage and surface permeability.
        Rationale for use
        Short lag times are indicative of a flashy river system and long lag times can indicate dampening of the flood by the floodplain and slower moving pulses.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Groundwater - surface water connectivity
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Groundwater - surface water connectivity
        Description
        Describes the connection and direction of flow between channel and groundwater.
        Rationale for use
        The connectivity with the groundwater indicates whether the system is losing water into the groundwater or is gaining from the groundwater.
        References and links
        Categories
        • Gaining
        • Losing
        • Variable
        • Disconnected
        • Unknown
    • Hydraulic resistance
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Hydraulic resistance
        Description
        The degree of energy loss in fluid flow as a result of roughness. The roughness may be at differing scales including sediment grains, bedforms and channel form such as meander bends as well as vegetation.
        Rationale for use
        The roughness of the channel reduces the flow velocity, especially near the boundary. This can change the energy that is exerted on the boundary. Manning's n is a common co-efficient used to approximate hydraulic resistance in a channel.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Length of time water is at bankfull
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Length of time water is at bankfull
        Description
        The average period of flows at or above bankfull. This could be the annual average.
        Rationale for use
        The length of time at bankfull or higher increases the time that water can infiltrate into the channel banks resulting in increased bank storage.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Period of no flow
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Period of no flow
        Description
        The length of time that there is no surface flow in the channel during a set time interval. There may still be standing water that is not flowing.
        Rationale for use
        This attribute describes the likelihood that the river will cease to flow or be dry for a period during a year. This can result in disconnection where parts of the river may dry out.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Permanence of water in channel
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Permanence of water in channel
        Description
        Permanence of water refers to the length of time and how regularly a channel has water in it.
        Rationale for use
        The length of time and frequency of water in a channel can impact biota that may live in the wetland.
        References and links
        Categories
        • permanent
        • near permanent
        • intermittent
        • ephemeral
        • unknown
    • Permanence of water in the broader landform unit
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Permanence of water in the broader landform unit
        Description
        Describes the length of time and frequency that water is present in the larger landform unit of the floodplain.
        Rationale for use
        Refugia can depend on the presence of water.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • permanent
        • near permanent
        • intermittent
        • ephemeral
        • unknown
    • Photosynthetically active radiation (PAR)
    • Proportion of flow (groundwater)
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Proportion of flow (groundwater)
        Description
        The ratio of groundwater volume to the total volume of channel discharge.
        Rationale for use
        The chemistry, temperature and sediment of the groundwater flow can be very different to the stream flow coming from runoff into the channel.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Rate of recession
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Rate of recession
        Description
        The rate of water surface elevation (stage) change over time as flows are decreasing after an event peak.
        Rationale for use
        The maximum rate of recession indicates the likely drainage of the riverbank compared to the water surface levels. Fast recession in a slowly draining riverbank can lead to the bank being heavy and unsupported resulting in mass failures.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Rate of rise
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Rate of rise
        Description
        The rate of water surface elevation (stage) change over time as flows are increasing before an event peak. This is also referred to as the rising limb.
        Rationale for use
        The speed at which the water rises in the channel can influence the slaking of sediment and how quickly sub-aerially prepared sediment is entrained.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Relative dominance of water source
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Relative dominance of water source
        Description
        The water source is the broad part of the environment that water is generated from, such as ground or surface waters. Dominance is defined as being the primary source of water for more than 70% of the time (based on Wetland Classification Scheme attribute).
        Rationale for use
        The water source controls the water chemistry including the temperature.
        References and links
        Categories
        • Surface water
        • groundwater
        • both surface and groundwater
        • unknown
    • Shear stress
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Shear stress
        Description
        The force of water moving against the channel boundaries and/or broader landscape. This is calculated as force per unit area. It can be applied in the channel or floodplain, or can be applied as a bankfull shear stress.
        Rationale for use
        This may be determined as an average, variability or maximum. Shear stress is an indicator of the forces of water movement acting on the channel boundary. Shear stress is a determinant of sediment entrainment and transport, and also a determinant of habitat suitability for many aquatic biota. The boundary shear stress provides quantification of the lift forces being applied at the channel boundary that can influence erosion.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Time to sink
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Time to sink
        Description
        The length of time it takes for water to travel from the most distal point in the upper catchment to the catchment outlet or sink. This is commonly referred to as the time of concentration.
        Rationale for use
        This is a theoretical relationship and describes a property of the catchment that can influence, for example, how fast solutes may travel through the system.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Topographic drainage (landscape)
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Topographic drainage (landscape)
        Description
        Topographic drainage refers to where water flows and drains across the land surface based on drainage-enforced elevation models. At the landscape scale these equate to the drainage basins dataset.
        Rationale for use
        The categories show the landscape scale divisions of water flow directions across land surfaces. They indicate which areas are likely to supply water to river systems.
        References and links
        Categories
        • For full list refer to Drainage Basin Sub Areas - Queensland
    • Topographic drainage (region)
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Topographic drainage (region)
        Description
        Topographic drainage refers to where water flows and drains across the land surface based on drainage-enforced elevation models. At the regional scale these equate to the drainage divisions determined by the Australian Water Resources Management Committee (WRMC).
        Rationale for use
        The categories show the broad division of water flow directions across land surfaces. They indicate which areas are likely to supply water to the coast and which supply water inland.
        References and links
        Categories
        • Gulf
        • Bulloo
        • Lake Eyre
        • Murray Darling
        • North East Coast
    • Water depth
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Water depth
        Description
        The depth of water. This may be determined spatially such as over a reach or temporally over a year.
        Rationale for use
        The water depth can inform the likely conditions for appropriate habitats of some species. It is often referred to as the stage at gauging stations where it is measured against elevation. This may be quantified as maximum, instantaneous, average or variability.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Water source distance
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Water source distance
        Description
        Describes the maximum travel distance that the water source (e.g. groundwater, surface water, both groundwater and surface water) takes to deliver water to a point of interest.
        Rationale for use
        This describes the distance between two specific features, for example a groundwater aquifer and a waterhole. This information can inform on maximum distance or area that needs to be managed for water supply.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Water turbulence
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Water turbulence
        Description
        A measure of the mixing of the water. Turbulence produces a three-dimensional flow field with eddies occurring due to morphology, grain roughness and vegetation.
        Rationale for use
        An understanding of the three-dimensional flow velocities can aid in determining the mixing of water, which can relate to the dissipation of zones of velocity and temperature.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Water velocity
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Water velocity
        Description
        The variability in water velocities at an instant in time measured across an area of interest. This may be quantified using the coefficient of variation.
        Rationale for use
        This may be determined as an instantaneous variation or temporal variation. This attribute provides information on the likely velocities that may influence habitat or sediment flux across an area of interest.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Water velocity at bankfull
      • Theme
        Hydrology (physical)
        Attribute
        Water velocity at bankfull
        Description
        A measure of the channel cross-section velocities at bankfull discharge.
        Rationale for use
        This is often determined as an average, and the bankfull channel is used as a standard for comparisons. The average can be calculated spatially in a cross-section by averaging the velocities across the channel to account for the variability in boundary roughness.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
  • Substrate (chemical)
    • Substrate - acid sulfate
      • Theme
        Substrate (chemical)
        Attribute
        Substrate - acid sulfate
        Description
        The presence of potential or actual acid sulfate in the substrate.
        Rationale for use
        The presence of potential or actual acid sulfate in substrate will affect site management and suitable activities. Disturbance of acid sulfate in substrates can have significant detrimental impacts on water quality and habitat.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • Nil
        • Potential Acid Sulfate
        • Actual Acid Sulfate
        • Unknown
    • Substrate - ammonia nitrogen
      • Theme
        Substrate (chemical)
        Attribute
        Substrate - ammonia nitrogen
        Description
        A measure of ammonia nitrogen in the substrate which includes both ionised (NH4+) and unionised (NH3) forms of ammonia.
        Rationale for use
        The positive charge of ionised ammonia means that it adsorbs to negatively charged sites on substrate (particularly clay) and organic particles. Its tendency to adsorb means it is not mobile within substrate, but can also be transported with eroded sediments.
        References and links
        Categories
        -
    • Substrate - bioavailable nitrogen
      • Theme
        Substrate (chemical)
        Attribute
        Substrate - bioavailable nitrogen
        Description
        The forms of nitrogen in the substrate that directly support biological processes such as growth of phytoplankton. This includes dissolved and particulate inorganic nitrogen and mineralisable forms of organic nitrogen.
        Rationale for use
        Bioavailable nitrogen indicates what proportion of the total is available to biota.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Substrate - bioavailable phosphorous
      • Theme
        Substrate (chemical)
        Attribute
        Substrate - bioavailable phosphorous
        Description
        The forms of phosphorus in the substrate that directly support biological processes such as growth of phytoplankton. This includes filterable reactive phosphorus and mineralisable forms of organic phosphorus.
        Rationale for use
        The bioavailable phosphorous load indicates what proportion of the total load is directly available for biota.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Substrate - cation exchange capacity
      • Theme
        Substrate (chemical)
        Attribute
        Substrate - cation exchange capacity
        Description
        A measure of the substrates capacity to hold positively charged ions, including important nutrients calcium, magnesium and potassium.
        Rationale for use
        Cation exchange capacity is an important measure of the substrates ability to hold and release nutrients and an indicator of substrate fertility.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Substrate - electrical conductivity
      • Theme
        Substrate (chemical)
        Attribute
        Substrate - electrical conductivity
        Description
        A measure of the ability of the substrate (measured as a water-saturated extract) to conduct an electric current. It is often used as a metric of salinity.
        Rationale for use
        Differences in conductivity may occur from differences in geology and soil condition.
        References and links
        Categories
        -
    • Substrate - filterable reactive phosphorus
      • Theme
        Substrate (chemical)
        Attribute
        Substrate - filterable reactive phosphorus
        Description
        A measure of all forms of phosphorus in the substrate that pass through an 0.45µm filter and react with molybdenum blue reagent, this fraction is largely comprised of orthophosphate.
        Rationale for use
        Filterable reactive phosphorus is a readily available form of phosphorus for biotic uptake and biological processes.
        References and links
        Categories
        -
    • Substrate - inorganic nitrogen
    • Substrate - ionic composition
      • Theme
        Substrate (chemical)
        Attribute
        Substrate - ionic composition
        Description
        Describes the relative abundance of major anions and cations in the substrate.
        Rationale for use
        Ionic composition can be used to trace changes in chemical composition of substrate, indicating mixing of substrate or contamination.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Substrate - organic nitrogen
      • Theme
        Substrate (chemical)
        Attribute
        Substrate - organic nitrogen
        Description
        A measure of the organic nitrogen in the substrate. Calculated by subtracting inorganic nitrogen from total dissolved nitrogen.
        Rationale for use
        Organic forms of nitrogen can be less favourable for biotic uptake as energy is required to metabolise organic forms for use in biological processes. Organic forms are often the major component of total nitrogen.
        References and links
        Categories
        -
    • Substrate - oxidised nitrogen
    • Substrate - pH
      • Theme
        Substrate (chemical)
        Attribute
        Substrate - pH
        Description
        A measure of the acidity or alkalinity of the substrate.
        Rationale for use
        pH has a major impact on both habitat conditions and biota found at a location. pH may be influenced by the surrounding landscape (geological setting, water balance, quality, type of soils, vegetation and land use). Changes in pH can influence the survival of organisms if it is outside of their usual habitat range. The acidity or alkalinity can alter chemical processes in the substrate.
        References and links
        Categories
        • Hyper acidic (0-2)
        • Acidic (3-5)
        • Neutral (6-8)
        • Alkaline (9-11)
        • Hyper alkaline (12-14)
        • Unknown
    • Substrate - redox potential
      • Theme
        Substrate (chemical)
        Attribute
        Substrate - redox potential
        Description
        A measure of the overall reducing or oxidising capacity of the substrate.
        Rationale for use
        Redox potential is a controlling factor of oxidation-reduction reactions critical to nutrient and carbon cycles.
        References and links
        Categories
        -
    • Substrate - salinity
      • Theme
        Substrate (chemical)
        Attribute
        Substrate - salinity
        Description
        The concentration of soluble salts in the substrate.
        Rationale for use
        Salinity has a major impact on both habitat conditions and biota found at a location.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Substrate - total carbon
      • Theme
        Substrate (chemical)
        Attribute
        Substrate - total carbon
        Description
        The total carbon concentration in the substrate.
        Rationale for use
        Total carbon in a measure of all forms of carbon in the substrate, both organic and inorganic.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Substrate - total nitrogen
    • Substrate - total phosphorous
      • Theme
        Substrate (chemical)
        Attribute
        Substrate - total phosphorous
        Description
        A measure of all forms of phosphorus in the substrate.
        Rationale for use
        Total phosphorus indicates the amount of phosphorus that is both bioavailable and non- bioavailable.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
  • Substrate (physical)
    • Large wood jams
      • Theme
        Substrate (physical)
        Attribute
        Large wood jams
        Description
        A large wood jam is defined as 2 or more pieces of large wood touching each other whereby large wood is defined as pieces > 1m in length and 0.1 m in diameter.
        Rationale for use
        Accumulations of large wood into jams provide a source of roughness or blockages in the channel. This may be calculated as the count, average or variability.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Large wood pieces
      • Theme
        Substrate (physical)
        Attribute
        Large wood pieces
        Description
        Large wood is defined as pieces > 1m in length and 0.1 m in diameter.
        Rationale for use
        Large wood provides a roughness element in the channel. This may be calculated as the count, average or variability.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Large wood volume
      • Theme
        Substrate (physical)
        Attribute
        Large wood volume
        Description
        The volume of large wood (kg/m3) in a given area.
        Rationale for use
        The volume of large wood can indicate the degree of roughness it provides in a channel as well as the habitat available for biota to shelter.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Material on substrate
      • Theme
        Substrate (physical)
        Attribute
        Material on substrate
        Description
        The material sitting on top of the substrate, for example leaf litter.
        Rationale for use
        Knowing the grainsize of the substrate may not adequately describe the surface that the channel flow interacts with. Material on the substrate may change the roughness or strength of the riverbed.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Soil texture
      • Theme
        Substrate (physical)
        Attribute
        Soil texture
        Description
        Soil texture refers to the relative proportion of clay, sand, and silt in the soil.
        Rationale for use
        Knowledge of the soil texture can help understand the degree of energy required to erode the soil and can also indicate the likely permeability.
        References and links
        Categories
        • clay
        • clay-clay
        • clay-sandy clay
        • clay-silty clay
        • loam
        • loam-loam
        • loam-clay loam
        • loam-sandy clay loam
        • loam-silty clay loam
        • loam-silty loam
        • sand
        • sand-sand
        • sand-loamy sand
        • unknown
    • Substrate cohesion
      • Theme
        Substrate (physical)
        Attribute
        Substrate cohesion
        Description
        Cohesion refers to the bonding of fine grain particles via electrochemical forces. The proportion of silts and clays in the substrate can be used to indicate its cohesive properties.
        Rationale for use
        The cohesive sediment makes the banks more resistant to erosion and can alter the morphology of the riverbank with cohesive banks tending to the steeper and higher.
        References and links
        Chen, D, Zheng, J, Zhang, C, Guan, D, Li, Y & Huang, H (15 September 2022), 'Threshold of surface erosion of cohesive sediments', Frontiers in Marine Science. [online], vol. 9, p. 847985. Available at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2022.847985/full [Accessed 5 October 2023].
        Categories
        -
    • Substrate composition
      • Theme
        Substrate (physical)
        Attribute
        Substrate composition
        Description
        Categorises the composition of land surface.
        Rationale for use
        The benthic substrate can influence ecology as it can limit or increase nutrient availability, and affect pH and water quality. In a riverine waterhole, the benthic substrate composition can restrict groundwater. This attribute may be calculated at a section or as a longitudinal variability.
        References and links
        Categories
        • non-soil
        • non-soil-rock
        • non-soil-sand
        • soil
        • organic
        • organic-peat
        • unknown
    • Substrate consolidation
      • Theme
        Substrate (physical)
        Attribute
        Substrate consolidation
        Description
        Consolidated substrates are those which are not friable and have become hardened into substrates such as rock. Consolidated substrates are enduring, whereas unconsolidated or mixed substrates are less enduring. Consolidated substrates provide attachment sites for a diversity of biota including coral reefs and other important bioconstructors.
        Rationale for use
        Consolidated substrates have higher resistance than unconsolidated ones.
        References and links
        Categories
        • unknown
        • consolidated
        • intermediate
        • unconsolidated
    • Substrate depth
      • Theme
        Substrate (physical)
        Attribute
        Substrate depth
        Description
        The depth of the substrate. This may be the depth of mobile sediment in a riverbed.
        Rationale for use
        The depth of the substrate can suggest the sediment budget of the riverbed sediment. The water flow through the sediment can be influenced by the sediment depth.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Substrate dispersion
      • Theme
        Substrate (physical)
        Attribute
        Substrate dispersion
        Description
        The potential for the substrate to disaggregate when wet. This is often quantified using an Emerson test.
        Rationale for use
        Dispersive clays can result in substrates (including riverbanks) rapidly disintegrating into suspension when in contact with water, irrespective of the hydraulic force on the banks.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Substrate hydraulic conductivity
      • Theme
        Substrate (physical)
        Attribute
        Substrate hydraulic conductivity
        Description
        A measure the of ease of the substrate to transmit fluid based on both properties of the substrate and the properties of the fluid.
        Rationale for use
        Substrate hydraulic conductivity is a more realistic measure than substrate permeability as it considers both the substrate and fluid properties. The temperature of the fluid entering the substrate influences how it is transmitted. The interconnectedness of gaps in the substrate also affects movement of fluid.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Substrate inorganic grain particle size
      • Theme
        Substrate (physical)
        Attribute
        Substrate inorganic grain particle size
        Description
        A categorisation of the particle size of inorganic material.
        Rationale for use
        This is sometimes determined using the Folk classification. Fine clays to silts are cohesive, whereas larger particles are non-cohesive - the Hjulström curve can inform on the mobilisation of sediment.
        References and links
        Categories
        • fine clay
        • clay
        • silt
        • sand
        • sand-fine
        • sand-coarse
        • gravel
        • gravel-fine
        • gravel-medium
        • gravel-coarse
        • cobbles
        • stones
        • boulders
        • unknown
    • Substrate lithology (geology)
      • Theme
        Substrate (physical)
        Attribute
        Substrate lithology (geology)
        Description
        A description of the different physical characteristics that can be used to separate out layers of substrate. These descriptors can include colour, texture and grain size.
        Rationale for use
        Different lithological units may erode at different rates. They can also be indicative of processes of rock and unconsolidated substrate formation, such as via flood events.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Substrate organic grain particle size
      • Theme
        Substrate (physical)
        Attribute
        Substrate organic grain particle size
        Description
        A categorisation of the particle size of organic material.
        Rationale for use
        The coverage of organic particles can provide nutrients into the water, provide a source of food for animals, and can clog interstitial spaces in the riverbed.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • coarse (>1mm)
        • fine (1mm or less)
    • Substrate permeability
      • Theme
        Substrate (physical)
        Attribute
        Substrate permeability
        Description
        A measure of the ease of rock to transmit fluid based on the properties of the substrate.
        Rationale for use
        The interconnectedness of gaps in the substrate influences the rate of drainage of the riverbank as floods recede. This can be a controlling factor in the process of channel bank failures. This can be measured as an average or variability.
        References and links
        The Encyclopedic dictionary of physical geography (1994), p. 611, Blackwell, Oxford, UK ; Cambridge, Mass., USA, ed. A Goudie.
        Categories
        -
    • Substrate resistance
      • Theme
        Substrate (physical)
        Attribute
        Substrate resistance
        Description
        The ability of the substrate to resist forces acting on it.
        Rationale for use
        In a river the resistance to the flow velocity is importance and can change due to friction and cohesion.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Substrate roughness
      • Theme
        Substrate (physical)
        Attribute
        Substrate roughness
        Description
        This describes the roughness produced by the substrate which is characterised by the variability or irregularity in elevation within a spatial unit.
        Rationale for use
        It may be quantified at different spatial levels such as grain roughness at a micro-patch level or channel roughness at a reach level. Substrate roughness contributes to overall hydraulic roughness.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Substrate slaking potential
      • Theme
        Substrate (physical)
        Attribute
        Substrate slaking potential
        Description
        The potential for a material to disintegrate when inundated by water or exposed to the atmosphere. It can be caused by the swelling of clays forcing out interstitial air.
        Rationale for use
        Understanding the slaking potential allows to predict the likely timing and susceptibility of sediment supply from channel boundary erosion.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
  • Terrain
    • Abandoned channels
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Abandoned channels
        Description
        Channels that do not take bedload under typical flow conditions. This may be categorised by the number of abandoned channels on the floodplain or the length, surface area or relative volume that they cover.
        Rationale for use
        During high flow events abandoned channels may connect before it floods. The presence of abandoned channels can provide a roughness element on the floodplain as well as areas for habitat.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Channel arrangement
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Channel arrangement
        Description
        The way that channels are positioned relative to each other.
        Rationale for use
        The channel arrangement is the result of the hydrology, boundary materials and sediment transported.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • single channel
        • channel within channel (multiple)
        • channel within channel (single)
        • multiple channels in floodplain
    • Channel bed width
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Channel bed width
        Description
        A measurement of the channel bed width, measured perpendicular to the centreline.
        Rationale for use
        The bed width provides information on the area with riverbed sediment. This can be calculated as an average or variability. The variability in bed width describes how the channel is changing over a reach. Bed width will narrow at bedrock constrictions and widen where they are absent.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Channel cross-sectional area
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Channel cross-sectional area
        Description
        A measurement of the area of a channel cross-section. This is usually standardised by measuring the area of the bankfull channel perpendicular to the channel centreline.
        Rationale for use
        This is often measured as an average or variability. The cross-sectional area informs on the area of the channel, and this can suggest the influence of boundary roughness.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Channel depth
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Channel depth
        Description
        A measure of the channel depth. This is often standardised by using the elevation difference between the deepest point in the channel (thalweg) and the elevation of the top of the bankfull channel.
        Rationale for use
        This is often measured as an average or variability. The bankfull depth provides information on the flow depth at bankfull. It can also be used alongside the bankfull width to describe the width:depth. This is often used to describe shallow wide streams vs deep and narrow ones.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • <2m
        • 2 - <10m
        • 10 - <20m
        • ≥ 20m
    • Channel direction
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Channel direction
        Description
        The cardinal direction that the channel flows in from upstream to downstream.
        Rationale for use
        This informs on the channel network pattern and can reveal any geological controls.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • North
        • North East
        • East
        • South East
        • South
        • South West
        • West
        • North West
        • Unknown
    • Channel levee elevation
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Channel levee elevation
        Description
        The elevation difference between the top of the channel levee and the adjacent floodplain surface.
        Rationale for use
        This informs on the elevation at which flooding will occur.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Channel levee extent
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Channel levee extent
        Description
        The longitudinal extent of a channel levee compared to the length of the channel.
        Rationale for use
        This informs on the degree of connection that the river has with the floodplain over a set distance at different elevations, stages or discharges. This may be determined as a proportion of the channel length.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Channel levee presence
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Channel levee presence
        Description
        The presence or absence of ridge on the floodplain that is parallel and adjacent the banktop.
        Rationale for use
        The presence of levees indicates the hydrological and sedimentological connection with the floodplain. They can also be instrumental in the process of avulsion.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • presence
        • absence
    • Channel migration rate
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Channel migration rate
        Description
        The distance moved by a laterally migrating channel. It is often measured based on the change in channel centreline between two time periods perpendicular to the centreline, and can be quantified annually.
        Rationale for use
        The rate of lateral migration is the interplay of boundary resistance and the energy in the river. It describes the mobility of the channel and the rate at which the floodplain is eroded and constructed.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Channel morphological sequences
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Channel morphological sequences
        Description
        Channel morphological sequences are functional typologies that include a spatial attribute. These common sequences consider spatial location, the sequence of morphs and the sediment size in the channel.
        Rationale for use
        Their variability in hydraulics and sediment size can be used to predict different habitats. They are also indicators of sediment supply and transport capacity.
        References and links
        Montgomery, DR & Buffington, JM (May 1997), 'Channel-reach morphology in mountain drainage basins', Geological Society of America Bulletin. [online], vol. 109, no. 5, pp. 596-611. Available at: https://pubs.geoscienceworld.org/gsabulletin/article/109/5/596-611/183255 [Accessed 5 October 2023].
        Categories
        • cascade
        • step-pool
        • plane-bed
        • pool-riffle
        • dune-ripple
    • Channel network pattern
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Channel network pattern
        Description
        The way channels are orientated and connected with each other.
        Rationale for use
        The spatial arrangement of how channels connect with each other can control the concentration of discharge within the catchment.
        References and links
        The Dictionary of Physical Geography, 4th Edition (20 January 2016). [online], Wiley, ed. D S G Thomas. Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/book/10.1002/9781118782323 [Accessed 5 October 2023].
        Categories
        • Dendritic
        • parallel
        • centripetal
        • radial
        • rectangular
        • trellis
        • distributary
        • annual
        • pinnate
        • deranged
    • Channel perimeter
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Channel perimeter
        Description
        A measure of the length of the channel boundary surface. This is usually measured in a cross-section perpendicular to the channel centreline and standardised using the extent of the bankfull channel.
        Rationale for use
        This can be used in conjunction with the wetted perimeter to understand the length of the cross section that is not under water. This part of the channel can provide a different habitat and could be dominated by subaerial processes.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Channel planform area
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Channel planform area
        Description
        The total area of a channel over a specified distance, measured looking down on the channel (planform) and standardised by using the extent of the bankfull channel.
        Rationale for use
        This can be used in conjunction with canopy cover to determine the relative area of channel shading.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Channel sediment accumulation/deposition features
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Channel sediment accumulation/deposition features
        Description
        A functional typology of the morphs of sediment accumulation in the channel that also considers spatial location. Commonly used categories include bars, benches and islands - further determination of these features by a typology process is still required.
        Rationale for use
        These features are formed by and can be indicative of the hydraulic variability in the channel and are influenced by the sediment budget. Where present they can be indicative of the rate and size of sediment that is being accumulated.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Channel sediment removal/erosion features
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Channel sediment removal/erosion features
        Description
        A functional typology of the morphs of sediment erosion in the channel that also considers spatial location. Commonly used categories include headcuts, scour holes, undercuts and mass failure scars - further determination of these features by a typology process is still required.
        Rationale for use
        These features are formed by and can be indicative of the hydraulic variability in the channel and are influenced by the sediment budget. Where present they can be indicative of the rate and size of sediment that is being eroded.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Channel sinuosity
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Channel sinuosity
        Description
        The length of the channel over a set distance divided by the length of the valley over the same distance.
        Rationale for use
        The sinuosity considers the channel length over the downstream distance. Shorter stream lengths create steeper slopes and vice versa. A meandering stream often has a pool riffle sequence.
        References and links
        The Dictionary of Physical Geography, 4th Edition (20 January 2016). [online], Wiley, ed. D S G Thomas. Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/book/10.1002/9781118782323 [Accessed 5 October 2023].
        Categories
        • Straight (1-1.1)
        • Sinuous (>1.1-1.5)
        • Meandering (>1.5)
    • Channel width
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Channel width
        Description
        The channel width, measured perpendicular to the centreline. This is often standardised by using the bankfull width.
        Rationale for use
        This is often measured as an average or variability. Bankfull width is a standardised measure of channel widths, and assumes that the channel is adjusted to the magnitude and frequency of discharges and sediment loads. The variability in bankfull width describes how the channel is changing over a reach. Wider channel widths could be expected on meander bends compared to shorter widths on straight sections.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • <10m
        • 10 - <20m
        • 20 - <30m
        • 30 - <100m
        • ≥100m
    • Confinement source
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Confinement source
        Description
        A functional typology that indicates the material or landform that generates the confinement in the surrounding landscape.
        Rationale for use
        The type of confining material can indicate the likely sediment inputs during high flows and the trajectory of the channel.
        References and links
        Fryirs, KA, Wheaton, JM & Brierley, GJ (April 2016), 'An approach for measuring confinement and assessing the influence of valley setting on river forms and processes: Measuring Confinement along Fluvial Corridors', Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. [online], vol. 41, no. 5, pp. 701-710. Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/esp.3893 [Accessed 5 October 2023].
        Categories
        • hillslope
        • terrace
        • bedrock
        • anthropogenic
    • Contiguity
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Contiguity
        Description
        The degree of disconnection. Indicates how much of the channel or network flows down a channel rather than overland or in wetlands, lakes or reservoirs.
        Rationale for use
        This gives an indication of how well connected flows of water, sediment and biota might be in the channel. A non-continuous channel has greater losses of both water and sediment compared to a continuous channel.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • Continuous
        • Non-continuous
    • Difference in slope of opposing riverbanks
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Difference in slope of opposing riverbanks
        Description
        The difference in slope of opposing riverbanks. Each side is measured from the top of bank to the bottom of the bank, perpendicular to the channel, and then compared.
        Rationale for use
        The difference in slope of the opposing riverbanks can inform on the processes occurring in the channel and its hydraulic roughness.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Dominant sediment source
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Dominant sediment source
        Description
        The dominant source of sediment for a site. This considers a typology of landscape locations that can supply sediment.
        Rationale for use
        Understanding the dominant sediment source has management implications, such as prioritising sites for rehabilitation.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • hillslope erosion
        • gullying
        • riverbank erosion
        • riverbed erosion
        • erosional/depositional features
    • Dominant sediment source relative position
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Dominant sediment source relative position
        Description
        The relative position in the catchment from which the dominant source of sediment is derived.
        Rationale for use
        Understanding the relative position of the dominant sediment source has management implications, such as prioritising sites for rehabilitation.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • Upstream
        • Within reach
        • Downstream
    • Drainage density
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Drainage density
        Description
        The ratio between the total length of all streams within the river catchment determined at a defined spatial resolution (e.g. 1:50,000) and the total area of the catchment.
        Rationale for use
        The drainage density can indicate the concentration of flow. A high drainage density means that flows rapidly converge and concentrate.
        References and links
        The Dictionary of Physical Geography, 4th Edition (20 January 2016). [online], Wiley, ed. D S G Thomas. Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/book/10.1002/9781118782323 [Accessed 5 October 2023].
        Categories
        -
    • Elevation differences between planar surfaces
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Elevation differences between planar surfaces
        Description
        The difference in elevations between two planar surfaces. This is often applied to different heights on the floodplain.
        Rationale for use
        Floodplains are often perceived as flat surfaces. Natural variability in elevation can come from paleochannels and channel migration. This variability can increase floodplain roughness and can result in greater water storage on the floodplain surface.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Elevation/Altitude
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Elevation/Altitude
        Description
        Elevation/Altitude refers to the vertical distance between a feature and Australian Height Datum.
        Rationale for use
        This is often recorded as an average or variability. For example, the average elevation of a reach can indicate where in the catchment the river may be and the climatic conditions.
        References and links
        Categories
        -
    • Floodplain slope
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Floodplain slope
        Description
        The slope along the surface of a floodplain. This is often reported perpendicular to the channel.
        Rationale for use
        This is often measured as an average or variability. The floodplain slope can differ from the channel bed slope. The slope of the floodplain can influence overbank flow velocities and sediment dynamics.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Floodplain vertical accretion rate
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Floodplain vertical accretion rate
        Description
        The rate of vertical accretion is the rate at which sediment is deposited on the floodplain from overbank flows.
        Rationale for use
        This is usually determined as an annual average. The rate of vertical accretion describes the connection with the floodplain hydrologically and sedimentologically. The relative rates of lateral migration and vertical accretion can be used to understand the channel pattern/arrangement, such as whether the stream will likely avulse.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Floodplain width
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Floodplain width
        Description
        The average width of the floodplain.
        Rationale for use
        The width of the floodplain controls the area that the channel can migrate across. It also controls the depth of flood flows and the relative roughness of the floodplain.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Land zone (landscape)
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Land zone (landscape)
        Description
        Land zones represent major differences in geology and in the associated landforms, soils, and physical processes that give rise to distinctive landforms or continue to shape them.
        Rationale for use
        Landzones are a functional typology that can integrate environmental control across the landscape scale. These controls influence types and rates of physical processes as well as controlling the biota present.
        References and links
        Categories
        • 01 Deposits subject to periodic tidal inundation
        • 02 Quaternary coastal sand deposits
        • 03 Recent Quaternary alluvial systems
        • 04 Tertiary-early Quaternary clay plains
        • 05 Tertiary-early Quaternary loamy and sandy plains and plateaus
        • 06 Quaternary inland dunefields
        • 07 Cainozoic duricrusts
        • 08 Cainozoic igneous rocks
        • 09 Fine grained sedimentary rocks
        • 10 Coarse grained sedimentary rocks
        • 11 Metamorphic rocks
        • 12 Mesozoic to Proterozoic igneous rocks
        • Unknown
    • Land zone (regional)
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Land zone (regional)
        Description
        Land zones represent major differences in geology and in the associated landforms, soils, and physical processes that give rise to distinctive landforms or continue to shape them.
        Rationale for use
        Landzones are a functional typology that can integrate environmental control across the regional scale. These controls influence types and rates of physical processes as well as controlling the biota present.
        References and links
        Categories
        • Unconsolidated sediments
        • Cainozoic duricrusts
        • Igneous rocks
        • Sedimentary rocks
        • Metamorphic rocks
        • Unknown
    • Lateral confinement
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Lateral confinement
        Description
        The degree to which topographic features (e.g. hillslopes) limit the lateral extent of an active riverine system.
        Rationale for use
        This can be used to help determine the trajectory the channel might take. For example, a channel that is laterally confined is often insensitive to planform change.
        References and links
        Fryirs, KA, Wheaton, JM & Brierley, GJ (April 2016), 'An approach for measuring confinement and assessing the influence of valley setting on river forms and processes: Measuring Confinement along Fluvial Corridors', Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. [online], vol. 41, no. 5, pp. 701-710. Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/esp.3893 [Accessed 5 October 2023].
        Categories
        • Confined
        • Unconfined
        • Partly confined
    • Longitudinal slope morphology
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Longitudinal slope morphology
        Description
        A categorical description of the shape based on slopes in a long profile. This is often measured parallel to the channel centreline.
        Rationale for use
        This is commonly applied to the riverbed where the slope morphology at different spatial levels can indicate broad energy conditions associated with sediment transport in a reach, at the site or patch level. At the patch level it may indicate the slope morphology of a riffle.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • concave
        • convex
        • planar
    • Meander belt width
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Meander belt width
        Description
        The width that the channel occupies in the floodplain when it has fully developed meanders. This is the amplitude of the fully developed meanders.
        Rationale for use
        This informs on the area of the floodplain that is currently being reworked (e.g. eroded, deposited) by meander migration.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Number of channels
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Number of channels
        Description
        A count of the number of channels that are taking flow and bedload. This is applicable at the superreach scale.
        Rationale for use
        Discharge and sediment can be divided in multichannel systems. The number of channels indicates variability in the discharge and sediment being carried by each individual channel.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • 1
        • 2
        • 3-5
        • 6-10
        • >10
    • Physiographic province
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Physiographic province
        Description
        Physiographic provinces distinguish major physiographic changes based on similarities in landform characteristics and/or processes. Each province is described in terms of geology, structure, and broad regolith types.
        Rationale for use
        Physiographic provinces can be used to interpret broad landscape processes providing biogeographic and evolutionary context for ecosystems and habitats.
        References and links
        Categories
        • Great Barrier Reef Province
        • Peninsular Uplands Province
        • Burdekin Uplands Province
        • Fitzroy Uplands Province
        • New England-Moreton Uplands Province
        • Carpentaria Lowlands Province
        • Central Lowlands Province
        • Murray Lowlands Province
        • Carpentaria Fall Province
        • Barkly-Tanami Plains Province
        • Unknown
    • Presence of morphs of sediment accumulation
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Presence of morphs of sediment accumulation
        Description
        The presence of a morphological shape in the channel formed by sediment accumulation/deposition.
        Rationale for use
        The presence of morphs of sediment accumulation indicate a depositional environment.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • presence
        • absence
    • Presence of morphs of sediment removal
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Presence of morphs of sediment removal
        Description
        The presence of a morphological shape formed by sediment removal/erosion.
        Rationale for use
        The presence of morphs of sediment removal indicate an erosional environment.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • presence
        • absence
    • River terrace continuity
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        River terrace continuity
        Description
        Describes how continuous the terrace is longitudinally over a specified length and direction.
        Rationale for use
        This informs on the level of confinement of the current channel.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • River terrace formation process
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        River terrace formation process
        Description
        The process through which the river terrace is formed. The terrace is planar and stands above the present level of the floodplain.
        Rationale for use
        This helps in understanding the geological history and climatic evolution of the region.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • accretional
        • incisional
        • combined
    • River terrace width
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        River terrace width
        Description
        The width of the terrace perpendicular to the stream.
        Rationale for use
        This is often measured as an average width. This helps in understanding the geological history and climatic evolution of the region.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Riverbank erosion process
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Riverbank erosion process
        Description
        The process of bank erosion that produces that greatest volume of sediment.
        Rationale for use
        The dominant process controls the timing and volume of sediment supply. The type of riverbank erosion may be predicted by the channel geometry, hydrology, and sediment composition.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • sub-aerial
        • fluvial entrainment
        • mass failure
    • Riverbank slope
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Riverbank slope
        Description
        The slope of a riverbank, from the top of bank to the bottom of the bank, perpendicular to the channel.
        Rationale for use
        This is often measured as an average. The slope is indicative of grainsize and processes. A vertical slope on both banks suggests channel incision.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Sediment budget
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Sediment budget
        Description
        The amount of sediment that is mobilised and deposited in a specified area over a set time interval. In channels this is often measured in the bankfull channel over a year and represented by the equation of net change equals volume of deposition less volume of erosion.
        Rationale for use
        The relative volumes of erosion and deposition in the channel reveal the amount of sediment that may be exported downstream. This can be applied to the channel, floodplain or broader catchment.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • erosional
        • depositional
        • dynamic equilibrium
    • Sediment transport mode
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Sediment transport mode
        Description
        The dominant process for sediment transport.
        Rationale for use
        The dominant sediment transport mode helps in understanding processes of channel formation. These categories are further described above in hydrology-chemical and hydrology-physical.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • bed
        • suspended
        • wash
        • dissolved
    • Slope morphology in cross-section
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Slope morphology in cross-section
        Description
        A categorical description of the shape based on the side slopes in a cross-section. This is often measured perpendicular to the channel centreline. Each side is assessed separately.
        Rationale for use
        The categories can inform on the processes and timing of sediment supply or removal alongside any base level changes.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • concave
        • convex
        • planar
        • basal toe
        • basal undercut
    • Slope of surface water
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Slope of surface water
        Description
        The angle of the water surface relative to the horizontal within a channel length from an upstream point to downstream point.
        Rationale for use
        The water surface slope can be used in the calculation of stream power as it indicates the energy present in a channel.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Slope of upstream area
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Slope of upstream area
        Description
        The slope of the upstream catchment area.
        Rationale for use
        This is often measured as an average or variability. The topographic ruggedness or roughness of the landscape informs on hillslope runoff diffusion concentration in the contributing area.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Structural control
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Structural control
        Description
        A structural control is a discontinuity (e.g. geological) that can alter channel form and processes.
        Rationale for use
        Either the geological type or the length of the structural control are worth considering depending on the scale. A meandering channel can hit the structural control of a fault line and straighten out.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Subaerial area
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Subaerial area
        Description
        This is the area that is not occupied by water in the channel at a specified water level.
        Rationale for use
        This can indicate the abundance of potential oviposition sites or it can be used to indicate the area available for sub-aerial erosion.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Terrain morphology
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Terrain morphology
        Description
        Terrain morphology describes basic shapes that constitute the landform surface as described in Bolongaro-Crevenna et al. (2005). These can be used at multiple spatial levels and can be used in combination to describe different features.
        Rationale for use
        Describing the basic building block shapes provides a standardised approach that can be used by practitioners. For example, a levee may be described as a ridge on a planar surface adjacent to a channel.
        References and links
        Bolongaro-Crevenna, A, Torres-Rodríguez, V, Sorani, V, Frame, D & Arturo Ortiz, M (2005), 'Geomorphometric analysis for characterizing landforms in Morelos State, Mexico', Geomorphology, vol. 67, no. 3, pp. 407-422, Elsevier.
        Categories
        • peak
        • ridge
        • crest-undifferentiated
        • plane
        • pit
        • channel
        • depression-undifferentiated
    • Terrain slope
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Terrain slope
        Description
        Indication of the general or dominant slope of a morphological feature.
        Rationale for use
        The terrain slope indicates the likely runoff from land surface and can also suggest whether hillslope erosion is likely to be significant or not. Slope is a driver and modifier of energy both above and below the water and influences biotic diversity, distribution and the functional traits of those biota.
        References and links
        Categories
        • steep
        • moderately inclined
        • gently inclined
        • level
    • Upstream catchment area
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Upstream catchment area
        Description
        The area upstream of a given point that the land surface drainage flows to topographically.
        Rationale for use
        At the reach or site scale this can quantify the extent of the catchment that drains to a given point. Understanding the catchment area allows for more effective management.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Upstream network confinement (proportion)
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Upstream network confinement (proportion)
        Description
        Proportion of upstream channel network length with a laterally confining margin.
        Rationale for use
        The amount of hillslope confinement can control the rate of hillslope runoff into the stream. It indicates where there are floodplains that the river can hydrologically and sedimentologically connect with.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Vertical confinement
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Vertical confinement
        Description
        This refers to the degree to which the substrate (e.g. bedrock) limits the vertical migration of an active riverine system.
        Rationale for use
        This can be used to help determine the trajectory the channel might take. For example, a channel that is highly vertically confined is more likely to widen than incise when the stream power increases.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        • Confined
        • Unconfined
    • Wetted area
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Wetted area
        Description
        The total area of a channel that is occupied by water at a defined water level over a specified distance. This can be calculated in a cross-section to show the area of water in relation to the channel cross-sectional area. It may also be calculated in planform (looking down the channel) to show the proportion of a channel over a reach that has water.
        Rationale for use
        This can indicate the area available for aquatic processes.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -
    • Wetted perimeter
      • Theme
        Terrain
        Attribute
        Wetted perimeter
        Description
        The perimeter of a river channel in a cross section that is covered by water at a specific water level.
        Rationale for use
        This can be used in conjunction with the channel perimeter to understand the length of the cross section that is under water. This part of the channel can provide a different habitat and could be dominated by fluvial processes.
        References and links
        -
        Categories
        -

References

  1. ^ Cowardin, LM, Carter, FC & LaRoe, ET (1979), 'Classification of wetlands and deepwater habitats of the United States.', Fish an dWildlif Service, vol. FWS/OBS-79131, Fish and Wildlife Services, Washington, DC.

Last updated: 9 October 2023

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment, Science and Innovation, Queensland (2023) River classification attributes (Module 3), WetlandInfo website, accessed 1 February 2024. Available at: https://wetlandinfo.des.qld.gov.au/wetlands/what-are-wetlands/definitions-classification/classification-systems-background/queensland-river-classification/riverine-attributes/

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment, Science and Innovation