Stream channel
Stream channel is the physical confine of a stream
A stream is a body of water with a current, confined within a bed and stream banks. Depending on its locale or certain characteristics, a stream may be referred to as a branch, brook, beck, burn, creek, "crick", gill , kill, lick, rill, river, syke, bayou, rivulet, streamage, wash, run or...

A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

) consisting of a bed
Stream bed
A stream bed is the channel bottom of a stream, river or creek; the physical confine of the normal water flow. The lateral confines or channel margins, during all but flood stage, are known as the stream banks or river banks. In fact, a flood occurs when a stream overflows its banks and flows onto...

 and stream banks.
Stream channels exist in a variety of geometries. The stream channel development is controlled by both water and sediment movement. There is a difference between low gradient streams (less than a couple of percent in gradient) and high gradient streams. Wide variety of stream channel types
Channel types
A wide variety of river and stream channel types exist in limnology. All these can be divided into two groups by using the water-flow gradient as either low gradient channels for streams or rivers with less than two percent flow gradient, or high gradient channels for those with greater than a 2%...

 can be distinguished (e.g. Braided river
Braided river
A braided river is one of a number of channel types and has a channel that consists of a network of small channels separated by small and often temporary islands called braid bars or, in British usage, aits or eyots. Braided streams occur in rivers with high slope and/or large sediment load...

s, Wandering rivers, Single Thread Sinuous
A meander in general is a bend in a sinuous watercourse. A meander is formed when the moving water in a stream erodes the outer banks and widens its valley. A stream of any volume may assume a meandering course, alternately eroding sediments from the outside of a bend and depositing them on the...

 rivers etc.). During flood
A flood is an overflow of an expanse of water that submerges land. The EU Floods directive defines a flood as a temporary covering by water of land not normally covered by water...

s may water exceed the capacity of the channel and floodwaters spill out of the channel and across the valley bottom or floodplain
A floodplain, or flood plain, is a flat or nearly flat land adjacent a stream or river that stretches from the banks of its channel to the base of the enclosing valley walls and experiences flooding during periods of high discharge...

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