Environmental Fluid Mechanics

, Volume 9, Issue 5, pp 549–567 | Cite as

Determination of the Manning roughness coefficient influenced by vegetation in the river Aa and Biebrza river

  • L. De DonckerEmail author
  • P. Troch
  • R. Verhoeven
  • K. Bal
  • P. Meire
  • J. Quintelier
Original Article


The aim of this study was to investigate the variation of channel bed roughness in two rivers, as important parameter in hydraulic modelling especially with regard to flood control. The universities of Ghent (UG) and Antwerp (UA) are conducting scientific research in the river Aa in Belgium and the Biebrza river in Poland in order to better understand the phenomena involved and to come to a more accurate determination of the different parameters influencing flow. In this paper, the determination of the roughness coefficient ‘n’ from the Manning equation is used. This coefficient is not easy to determine and is varying constantly. It is influenced by the meandering character of the river, the bed material and the average grain size, the channel bed forms, the channel obstructions, the geometry changes between sections and the vegetation in the channel. Furthermore, due to these parameters, the roughness of the channel is not equally distributed over the channel, the banks and the floodplains. So, using literature data does not always lead to satisfactory results, due to the different situation in the field (Werner et al. J Hydrol 314:139–157, 2005). Therefore, measurements are necessary to determine the variation of the Manning coefficient. The Manning coefficient is a function of the discharge, but will also vary over the time due to the mentioned influences. In a multidisciplinary research project on the fundamental exchange processes in river ecosystems, hydraulic measurements were performed on a regular base in the river Aa. During these measurement campaigns, velocity and discharge measurements were carried out in multiple cross-sections. Once a month, the discharge and the water levels were measured at the upstream and the downstream end of the test stretch. On the river Biebrza, similar intensive measurement campaigns took place along a 6 km stretch in the upstream part of the river. An accurate determination of the Manning coefficient according a seasonal variation is an important tool in hydraulic modelling.


Ecohydraulics Environmental engineering Hydraulic measurements Manning roughness coefficient Vegetated rivers 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. De Doncker
    • 1
    Email author
  • P. Troch
    • 1
  • R. Verhoeven
    • 1
  • K. Bal
    • 2
  • P. Meire
    • 2
  • J. Quintelier
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Hydraulics Laboratory, Department of Civil EngineeringGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Ecosystem Management Research GroupUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium
  3. 3.Laboratory Soete, Department of Mechanical Construction and ProductionGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  4. 4.Department of MechanicsUniversity College GhentGhentBelgium

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