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In rivers and hydrology, the main stem is defined as the principal channel within a given drainage basin, into which all of the tributary streams in a drainage basin flow. Viewed in terms of the Strahler stream order system, the main stem would be the highest order stream amongst the streams in a given drainage basin. In rivers that anabranch or braid, the main stem is defined as the channel or thread of the channel that carries the majority of the flow,[1] though sometimes there is no dominant channel.

The United States National Weather Service considers the main stem as the principal object of flood forecasting.[2]

Line notes

General bibliographic references

  • Cushing, Colbert E., Benke, Arthur C., Rivers of North America

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