Fluvial geomorphology is the study of the physical processes that shape and maintain river and stream form. This scientific discipline recognizes that an in-depth understanding of a river’s history and site specific conditions are critical to successful management and restoration.
Geomorphologists seek to understand the processes by which rivers developed their unique characteristics and to predict future changes through a combination of field observation and technical analysis. Fluvial geomorphologists recognize that a river is intimately connected to adjacent hillslopes, floodplains, riparian corridors, hyporheic and groundwater zones; upstream and downstream portions of the drainage basin; and to other components of the environment, such as atmospheric and biological systems. Geomorphologists come from a variety of academic backgrounds including geography, geology, or engineering; As engineers, we approach the science of geomorphology from an analytical understanding of the complex linkages between hydrology, hydraulics, geology, and sediment transport.
Our engineering foundation provides us with the unique skills necessary to identify and evaluate geomorphic problems and to design and implement practical solutions.
Examples of our work in fluvial geomorphology
King County retained WSE and Herrera Environmental Consultants to evaluate the hydraulic and geomorphic effects of proposed levee and revetment setback along the Snoqualmie River near Fall City, WA that is aimed at restoring salmonid habitat and maintaining or improving existing flood hazard protection.
King County's River and Floodplain Management Section retained WSE and Herrera Environmental Consultants to develop a Corridor Management Plan for the lower six miles of the Tolt River near Carnation, WA.
Kittitas County Public Works and partners seek to develop an integrated vision / plan to reduce flood hazards and improve habitat along a three mile reach of the Yakima River near Ellensburg, Washington.
Watershed Science & Engineering (WSE) was retained by Kittitas County to prepare an alternatives analysis to identify and compare solutions to an active bank erosion problem along the Yakima River at Ringer Loop Road.
An earlier study for Grays Harbor County concluded that removing a revetment on WDFW-owned property could put Keys Road and other infrastructure at risk without addressing erosion problems of downstream landowners.
The U.S. Forest Service, in partnership with Kittitas County, proposes to improve approximately 13 miles of the Teanaway and North Fork Teanaway roads.
King County intends to prepare a Corridor Management Plan for the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River from approximately Snoqualmie River Mile (RM) 45 near the Three Forks Natural Area (upstream of its confluence with the South Fork Snoqualmie River) to RM 49 near the community of Tanner.
In May, 2011 a major flood on Manastash Creek near Ellensburg, WA caused significant damage to private property and public infrastructure.
The Kittitas County Conservation District (KCCD) led an investigation to develop a corridor plan to guide the implementation of habitat enhancement and flood hazard reduction actions along 13 miles of Manastash Creek, near Ellensburg, WA.
WSE was retained to provide hydraulic and geomorphic engineering services for the Dry Creek Bridge Replacement Project in Kittitas County, Washington.