A PRELIMINARY APPROACH TO PROCESS-BASED STREAM CLASSIFICATION IN THE CRITICAL ZONE: THE TEXAS EXAMPLE
A critical zone stream classification system has to account for the fundamental characteristics of erosion, transportation, and deposition. A process-based systems' approach to stream classification within the critical zone allows the inclusion of the geomorphic concepts of equilibrium, magnitude, frequency, scale, and process-linkage, thresholds that control erosion, runoff, geochemical characteristics of water, and anthropogenic influences. A stream classification system based on stream morphology provides a common ground for understanding stream conditions and potentials in vastly differing settings, provides a consistent frame of reference, facilitates prediction of stream activity from appearance, and provides a view of the health of a stream for restoration. This research focuses on the variables of climate, geology, and stream gradient that influence stream morphology within the various physiographic provinces of Texas. Spatial statistics reveal potential grouping of patterns of curvature within the various rivers of Texas based on the variables observed. A preliminary stream classification for specific physiographic locations can be very useful for providing an understanding of river behavior related to specific physiographic provinces.