Natural Channel Design
Natural Channel Design is a set of guiding principles which can be successfully used during stream restoration projects. Natural Channel Design can be best defined as appropriately incorporating naturally occurring stream processes during a restoration project to an extent that will allow the stream to stabilize and provide maximal biological potential.

Natural Channel Design incorporates fluvial geomorphology as the basis for stream stabilization. Aspects of fluvial geomorphology include the interactions of climate, geology, topography, vegetation and land use within a given watershed.

Natural Channel Design also recognizes that rivers and streams support both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Natural Channel Design provides habitat for aquatic organisms such as fish, amphibians, insects, mollusks and plants and contributes to the stream networks which provide food sources and migration routes for mammals and simultaneously supports a great diversity birds.

Taking all of these variables into account during the restoration of a stream is one of the goals of Natural Channel Design. By using undisturbed streams as models, Natural Channel Design provides restoration solutions to modified stream channels which provide both physical stability and biological potential.



Natural Channel Design Concept incorporating a stable stream geometry, appropriate floodplain and zones for riparian vegetation.

Components of Natural Channel Design Include:

Learn more about the importance of the riparian aspects of NCD here
Learn more about the aquatic aspects of NCD here
See how Natural Channel Design is utilized to restore modified stream channels here.

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Oxbow River & Stream Restoration; 2905 Klondike Road; Delaware, OH 43015; (740) 362-4134.
© 2014 Oxbow River & Stream Restoration, Inc. Last updated January 2014.