Water Resources Research
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Church and Haschenburger (2017) make helpful distinctions around the issue of defining the active layer, with which we agree. We propose expanding discussion and definition of the ”active layer” in fluvial bedload transport to include the concept of the “morphological active layer”. This is particularly applicable to laterally unstable rivers (such as braided rivers) in which progressive morphological change over short time periods is the process by which much of the bedload transport occurs. The morphological active layer is also distinguished by variable lateral and longitudinal extent continuity over a range of flows and transport intensity. We suggest that the issue of forms of active layer raised by Church and Haschenburger opens up an important discussion on the nature of bedload transport in relation to river morpho-dynamics over the range of river types.