Module 3: Hydrology & River Ecology

A Healthy Watershed

This module will focus on the following:

  • The relationship between hydrology and aquatic habitat in unregulated and regulated river systems
  • An understanding of hydrologic terminology, including flood frequency, magnitude, duration, “bankfull” discharge, and drought
  • How data collected at river gages are used to determine flood return intervals (2-year, 10-year, 100-year discharges)
  • How estimated flood return intervals are used by regulatory agencies, biologists, and engineers to help manage river environments
  • Morphologic features (pools, riffles, runs), how/why they form, and why changes in river morphology are necessary to sustain long term ecological health
  • A fundamental understanding of riverine processes, including erosion, deposition, scour, sediment transport
  • The importance of floodplains and riparian corridors in maintaining healthy, ecologically functional rivers
  • Disturbance factors that can lead to degraded floodplains, riparian corridors, and riverine health

Numerous individuals and sources have provided material for this module, and their contributions are acknowledged in the text and in the Resources section. This module just breaks the surface of the subject and students are encouraged to read the primary sources as part of their continuing education.

Outfitters and guides who are registered as students of the Guiding for the Future program are required to complete each module of the course. The course is available online 24/7, features short 'chapters' and includes a final test.

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(Registered Students)