Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Minnesota
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Minnesota Project

Geographical Information Systems techniques to channel slope

August 2005 - September 2006


Participating Agencies

  • Water Resources Division

Our goal is to evaluate automated methods to estimate channel gradient, and to develop estimates of stream power and flood discharge and frequency for unregulated streams within Minnesota. Studies have demonstrated relationships between the gradient of stream channels and fish and macroinvertebrate assemblages. Twenty-one of 35 habitat features in Wyoming streams were related to channel gradient. Although field techniques to measure channel gradient are standardized, several techniques to estimate stream gradient using a GIS exist, but a standard technique has not been chosen. The objectives are to: determine a method for measuring channel gradient that provides similar estimates to field measurements with standard techniques, identify GIS method(s) that provide similar estimates to measurements made in the field, and develop estimates of flood discharges using regression equations based on our field and GIS methods.