Environmental Management

, Volume 43, Issue 6, pp 1201–1218

Don’t Fight the Site: Three Geomorphic Considerations in Catchment-Scale River Rehabilitation Planning


DOI: 10.1007/s00267-008-9266-4

Cite this article as:
Brierley, G. & Fryirs, K. Environmental Management (2009) 43: 1201. doi:10.1007/s00267-008-9266-4


Three geomorphic considerations that underpin the design and implementation of realistic and strategic river conservation and rehabilitation programs that work with the nature are outlined. First, the importance of appreciating the inherent diversity of river forms and processes is discussed. Second, river dynamics are appraised, framing the contemporary behavioral regime of a reach in relation to system evolution to explain changes to river character and behavior over time. Third, the trajectory of a reach is framed in relation to downstream patterns of river types, analyzing landscape connectivity at the catchment scale to interpret geomorphic river recovery potential. The application of these principles is demonstrated using extensive catchment-scale analyses of geomorphic river responses to human disturbance in the Bega and Upper Hunter catchments in southeastern Australia. Differing implications for reach- and catchment-scale rehabilitation planning prompt the imperative that management practices work with nature rather than strive to ‘fight the site.’


River rehabilitation Geomorphology Human impact River change River evolution River recovery River Styles Landscape connectivity 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geography, Geology and Environmental ScienceUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Discipline of Environmental Science, Department of Environment and GeographyMacquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia

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