Rosgen Type C Streams

January 26, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF
A "C" Channel Type.
Photo courtesy of the National Riparian Service Team

Type C streams are located in narrow to wide valleys, constructed from alluvial deposition. They have a well developed floodplain (slightly entrenched), are relatively sinuous with a channel slope of 2% or less and a bedform morphology indicative of a riffle/pool configuration. They are often thought of as “Wide Valley Bottoms Streams.” These streams are typically wider than they are deep, are stable and usually are sediment supply and transport limited. However, if they have gravel or finer bed and bank materials they will have point bars, riffles, and pools. These systems are susceptible to scour, erosion, and meander migration. As the bed and bank material become finer, a larger percentage of the sediment load will be suspended or wash load. Type C channels usually occur in to bed slopes of up to 2 percent.


Montana Stream Management Guide for Landowners, Managers, and Stream Users. 1998. Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality. 34 pp.

Rosgen, D. L. (1994). A classification of natural rivers. Catena, 22, 169-199.

Rosgen, D.L. and H.L. Silvey. 1996. Applied River Morphology. Wildland Hydrology Books, Fort Collins, CO.

Surber, Gene and Bob Ehrhart. 1998. Stream and Riparian Area Management. Montana State University Cooperative Extension Service.

United States Environmental Protection Agency. 2008. Fundamentals of the Rosgen Stream Classification System. USDA EPA Watershed Academy. Accessed on 17 May 2010.

Ward, A., J. L. D’Ambrosio, and D. Mecklenburg. 2008. Stream Classification. The Ohio State University Extension. Agriculture and Natural Resources Fact Sheet AEX-445-01.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.