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Channel Migration

Channel Migration

The Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) maps historic stream channels to determine future channel migration hazards.

Channel migration is the natural process by which streams move laterally over time. It is typically a gradual phenomenon that works over many years to effect significant migration. In some cases, usually associated with flood events, significant migration can happen rapidly.

Access the Channel Migration Zone Storymap.

Channel Migration Zones

Following methods developed by Washington Department of Ecology, we bring together historic photos, lidar, and field data to create channel migration zone mapping. These maps can be used to understand a type of hazard that is not typically accounted for in traditional FEMA flood maps. Channel migration hazards can exist outside the 1%-annual-chance flood zone.

Schematic of channel migration zone and its components
Schematic of channel migration zone and its components.

Statewide Channel Migration Assessment

To prioritize future channel migration zone mapping efforts we produced a statewide screening of channel migration susceptibility. We evaluated the major rivers of Oregon and classified their segments as having high, moderate, or low susceptibility. Download the publication

Historic Channels

Lidar reveals historic channel patterns in ways never before possible. We have created a series of landscape maps to highlight the evolution of channel configurations in the Willamette Valley and beyond.

Portion of poster showing historic channels of the central Willamette Valley
Portion of poster showing historic channels of the central Willamette Valley.

Lane County Channel Migration Zone Mapping Project Kick-off Meeting

On April 26, 2022, DOGAMI hosted a virtual kick-off meeting for a new, FEMA-funded channel migration zone study. This project will produce natural hazard maps for the McKenzie River and Middle Fork Willamette River in Lane County. View a video of the presentation here.


Current and Upcoming Projects

Detailed channel migration zone mapping of:

  • McKenzie and Middle Fork Willamette River in Lane County (in-progress)
  • Zigzag River in Clackamas County
  • Johnson Creek in Multnomah County
  • Umatilla River and McKay Creek in Umatilla County

Past Detailed Mapping

Lidar Landscapes