Water(way) sensitive urban design: Addressing the causes of channel degradation through catchment-scale management of water and sediment
Waterway channel morphology is primarily the product of two main agents: Water and sediment. Urbanisation of a catchment alters these agents and drives degradation of channel morphology. The common management response involves expensive, site-scale works (e.g. rock protection) that have been found to not improve ecological condition. An alternative channel restoration approach that will better support aquatic ecosystems is to depart from addressing the symptoms of urbanisation and focus on the catchment-scale causes, but this requires a better understanding of relationships between urbanisation and channel morphology (specifically ecologically important physical attributes). This paper summarises research that demonstrates the influence of conventional urban stormwater drainage systems on the morphology of waterways, and how altered sediment supplies exacerbate this influence, and uses this as a basis to outline two catchment-scale strategies. This approach requires a paradigm shift in both the scale and geomorphic consideration of restoration activities, but one that finds many synergies with current urban initiatives.
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