Stream Density

Stream density is the length of all channels within the basin divided by the area of the basin. Stream density is one of the most important characteristics for evaluating potential runoff.

A drainage basin with a large number of tributaries has a higher stream density than a basin with very few tributary streams. Higher stream density allows the landscape to drain more efficiently following a storm event. More efficient drainage means that water moves into streams and creeks faster, causing peak storm flows to be larger and to occur sooner.

A basin with a lower stream density usually indicates a deep, well-developed soil. In this case, water is more likely to infiltrate into the soil rather than become surface runoff and enter into the channel network.