Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

William J. Rahmeyer


William J. Rahmeyer


Gilberto Urroz


Gary Merkley


To calculate flow or depth in a waterway, it is necessary to accurately determine the flow resistance. Past research has made considerable progress in predicting the roughness of nonvegetated uniform channels based on both theoretical and experimental investigations. However, to determine the flow resistance associated with vegetated compound flow channels and floodplains, the effects of the vegetation must be considered.

Recent advancements have led to greater understanding of the effects of partially submerged uniform vegetation in a waterway. However, to accurately determine flow resistance, it is imperative that the effects of both submerged and partially submerged vegetation be taken into account. It is also critical to account for the effects of multiple species and densities of vegetation throughout the waterway.

Extensive testing of both partially submerged and fully submerged vegetation was completed in the laboratory. Multiple species were tested together to represent various ecosystems commonly found in floodplains throughout the country. Results of the testing show that both geometric and biomechanical properties of the plants must be accounted for when determining vegetation resistance. Methods and procedures were developed to quantify these properties. Equations were also developed that provide a basis by which to quantify vegetation resistance.

The results of this study were compared to several sets of actual field data. The resistance values predicted by the equations were very close to those measured in the field. Use of the developed equations and procedures now provides those involved in the field of flood control a far more accurate tool by which to predict vegetation resistance than was previously available.