Stream order is a simple method for classifying streams based on their relative size and location within a catchment.
Streams are classified according to the number of tributaries upstream as they alter their physical characteristics, join up and eventually become rivers. First and second order streams are often referred to as ‘headwater’ streams because they occur at the head of the catchment.
Good spatial information on the location of streams and catchment boundaries is necessary to assist waterways and catchment management. Previously, data sets of streams had not been easily comparable because different organisations had used different techniques at different scales across the region, hence the SEQ Healthy Waterways Partnership commissioned BMT WBM Pty Ltd to develop an improved data set of the stream order networks across South East Queensland.