Dataset: River Styles Spatial Layer for New South Wales



This dataset and its metadata statement were supplied to the Bioregional Assessment Programme by a third party and are presented here as originally supplied.

The River Styles Framework is a tool used to characterise geomorphology, which provides baseline information and understanding of river forms, processes, evolution, condition and trajectory. The spatial layer has 3 main primary layers, being River Style, Geomorphic Condition, and Recovery Potential. A further derivative layer is developed to reflect the fragility of each style.

Riverstyle examines the pattern and connectivity of reaches of different River Style within the context of catchment-scale controls. Geomorphic condition desribes the extent to which the river has been altered relative to reference condition for the given style. Recovery Potential describes the timeframes and trajectories for recovery. Fragility describes the senstivity to disturbance for each style.

The framework is described in detail in Brierley, G. and Fryirs, K. (2005). Geomorphology and River Management: Applications of the River Styles Framework. Blackwell Publishing, Melbourne.


The River Styles Framework is used to stratify rivers into like types, as well as for natural resource management planning based on style, condition, and recovery potential.

Dataset History

Derived from a number of sources depending on the Catchment Management Authority area. These are listed below:

Southern Rivers, Murray, Murrumbidgee, Western and Lower Murray Darling CMA areas - collected by Guy Lampert of GHD in 2011 via contract with the Office of Water. Mapped waterway lines were segmented using ARCGIS editing tools, with each segment attributed with a River Style, condition rating, recovery potential rating, fragility rating and a confidence level rating in the interpretation of river style. This information was determined through the interpretation of ADS40 and SPOT5 imagery. For the Murray and Murrumbidgee CMAs ADS40 imagery covered the middle to upper catchments with SPOT5 used to assess the streamlines of the lower catchments. The assessment of the Lower Murray-Darling and Western was based entirely on SPOT5. For the Southern Rivers CMA, the assessment was entirely based on ADS40. Contour lines and 1:250k geological mapping were also used to assist in the interpretation of river styles. Field verification was undertaken as part of the assessment, limited to approximately 80% of publically accessible areas, consisting dominantly of road crossings. Naming of river styles was undertaken in accordance with the NSW Office of Water Dichotomous Key. Within the Southern Rivers CMA previous river styles datasets for the Clyde and Tuross catchments were incorporated within the subject dataset. Minor changes were made to the Tuross dataset to provide consistency across the subject dataset.

Northern Rivers CMA - A River Styles assessment was undertaken on the major waterways of the Northern Rivers CMA during the 1990s. In 2011, Alluvium filled-the-gaps to complete the River Styles assessment on all reamining mapped waterways in the region. The assessment was based predominatly on aerial photographs, 10m contour lines and 1:250k geological mapping. Some field verification was undertaken as part of the project.

Namoi - completed by Guy Lampert and Amelia Short in 2004 for the Namoi CMA. Assessment was based on aerial photography with field verification. A similar approach to the above was used.

Border Rivers Gwydir - completed by Guy Lampert (GHD) for the CMA using the same approach as that for the work completed in that described above for GHD 2011 work.

Central West - completed by Guy Lampert in 2010 for the CMA using the same approach as above.

Lachlan - completed by David Outhet, NSW Office of Water in 2011, using ADS40 stereo-pairs. A much greater level of field validation was undertaken compared to Riverstyles in most other CMA areas.

Hunter Central Rivers - completed by Nick Cook and George Schneider, NSW Office of Water in 2006. A much greater level of field validation was undertaken compared to Riverstyles in most other CMA areas.

Hawkesbury Nepean - completed by ID&A consultants in 2001. The initial capture of data was limited to the major streams only. The layer was updated by Guy Lampert (GHD) in 2012 following a similar approach to that used for Southern Rivers CMA. No field verification was undertaken. The project did not updated or capture information on streams which occur within reserves.

Sydney Metro - completed by EarthTech consultants in 2007. The report used a different naming convention for style, condition and recovery potential. These had to be matched to the standard naming convention used by the NSW Office of Water. The original names used in the EarthTech report are included in the notes field of the attribute table.

Dataset Citation

NSW Office of Water (2012) River Styles Spatial Layer for New South Wales. Bioregional Assessment Source Dataset. Viewed 13 March 2019,

General Information