Manning's Roughness Coefficient for Natural Channels and Flood Plains

George J. Arcement, Jr. and Verne R. Schneider

U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 2339



Although much research has been done on Manning's roughness coefficient, n, for stream channels, very little has been done concerning the roughness values for densely vegetated flood plains. In densely vegetated flood plains, the major roughness is caused by trees, vines, and brush. The n value for this type of flood plain can be determined by measuring the vegetation density of the flood plain.

Photographs of flood plain segments where n values have been verified can be used as a comparison standard to aid in assigning n values to similar flood plains.