Definition of Terms

There is a lot of technical terms on the Rivers and Streams website. This page is designed to help navigate and define these words and phrases. Use the line below to skip to a certain letter.
An obstruction to the flow of water that increase the water elevation upstream of the barrier.
Process by which streambed and floodplains are lowered in elevation by the removal of materials. Compare with aggradation.
Settling of material from the water column and accumulation on the bottom or stream banks.
Measured distance between stream bed and surface of water
Life history strategy that includes movement between fresh- and saltwater. Two migrations to spend various states in life in different ecosystems. Compare with anadromous, catadromous, and potamodrous.
Microscopic algae that occurs as plankton or attached to the bottom with a skeleton made of silicon.
Rate at which a volume of water flows past a point per unit of time. Usually expressed as cubic meters per second or cubic feet per second.
Dissolved oxygen:
Concentration of oxygen dissolved in water, expressed as milligrams per liter or as a percent of saturation.
A watershed that contains all tributary rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes that drain a given area.
Drainage basin:
The total surface land area drained by a stream or river from its headwater to its mouth. See catchment basin and watershed.