Rosgen Type E Streams

January 25, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF
An "E" Channel Type. Photo courtesy of the National Riparian Service Team.

Type E streams represent the developmental “end-point” of channel stability and fluvial process efficiency for certain alluvial streams undergoing a natural dynamic sequence of system evolution. Type E streams often develop inside of the wide, entrenched and meandering channels of Type F streams following floodplain development on and vegetation recovery of the former “F” channel beds. Type E streams are slightly entrenched, have a low width-to-depth ratio (narrow and deep), occur in wide valleys with slopes less than 2 percent, and exhibit a wider range of sinuosity. Type E streams have the highest meander width ratio of all the stream types. The bedform features are predominantly a consistent series of riffle/pool reaches, generating the highest number of pools per unit distance of channel, when compared to other riffle/pool stream types (C, DA, and F). They are found in a variety of landforms, from high mountain alpine meadows to low elevation coastal plains. Many meadow streams are type E streams. Generally, they are very stable, in part because they have well-developed floodplains with dense vegetation (often sedges and rushes) that helps stabilize the near vertical banks. These systems are very sensitive to disturbance and can be rapidly adjusted and converted to other stream types in relatively short time periods.


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.