Delivering Benefits through Evidence


The Channel Management Handbook is a strategic, high-level guide that provides channel managers with the understanding they need to make informed channel management decisions. The handbook also sets out a robust framework that should be followed to ensure that good channel management decisions are made and that flood risk management and land drainage objectives are achieved.   The handbook has been primarily written for flood risk management authorities. However, other groups with an interest in channel management for other purposes will also find the handbook useful.   This extended executive summary has been written specifically to provide a useful overview for those readers not directly involved in the channel management process. The summary introduces the fundamental scientific concepts and the context within which the principles for channel management have been developed, the typical issues facing the channel manager and the decision-making process that should be followed to address these issues.

Handbook content

Good channel management is defined as a course of action that achieves the needs of humans to manage channels for flood risk and / or land drainage purposes, that has due regard of the needs of ecology and wildlife. In some situations, this can be met by allowing natural channel-forming processes to establish. Good channel management works as much as possible with natural processes and supports a broad range of ecosystem functions and services, including fisheries, navigation and amenity, habitats, biodiversity, landscape and water quality, in addition to flood risk and land drainage. When carrying out channel management, all these functions should be considered even if flood risk and land drainage are the primary drivers for management. For this handbook, channel management encompasses routine maintenance that takes place within a wider programme of channel management and reactive maintenance. This also includes rehabilitation, restoration and modification works to a channel.   It is important that good channel management is based on informed decisions that are underpinned by the fundamental scientific principles of hydraulics and geomorphology and take account of the multiple functions and services that a channel delivers. The handbook is designed to provide channel managers with the information they need to undertake channel management in the most appropriate way, and not to tell them how specifically to manage their channel.

The handbook is divided into three sections:

Open Channel Management Handbook

Published by: Environment  Agency,  Horizon  House,  Deanery  Road, Bristol, BS1 9AH

Author(s): Phil Williamson, Fola Ogunyoye, Ian Dennis, Jack Douglas, Matthew Hardwick, Paul Sayers, Karen Fisher, Colin Thorne, Nigel Holmes

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