Fundamentals of Fluvial Geomorphology and Channel Processes
ZONE 1 (Sediment Production)
ZONE 2 (Sediment Transfer)
ZONE 3 (Sediment Deposition)
Figure 3.1 The Fluvial System (after Schumm, 1977)
Zone 2 - the middle portion of the system that is the river; this portion of the system functions as
the sediment transfer zone.
Zone 3 - the lower portion of the system may be a delta, wetland, lake, or reservoir; this portion
of the system functions as the area of deposition.
These three zones are idealized, because in actual conditions sediments can be stored, eroded, and
transported in all zones. However, within each zone one process is usually dominant. For our purposes
in planning channel stabilization, we are primarily concerned with Zone 2, the transfer zone. We may need
to treat only a small length of a stream bank (Zone 2) to solve a local instability problem; however, from
a system viewpoint we must insure that our plan does not interfere with the transfer of sediment from
upstream (Zone 1) to downstream (Zone 3). In channel stabilization planning we must not neglect the
potential effects that may occur throughout the system.
The fundamental concept that a stream is a portion of a large and complex system may have been
most eloquently stated by Dr. Hans Albert Einstein: