In their natural state, rivers are active, dynamic bodies of water that move across the landscape, carving new channels and/or splitting into multiple streams. Historically, this process created complex landscapes that supported the evolution of aquatic species. Postmodern human development has restricted channel migration and simplified river environments, diminishing habitat, decreasing the river’s access to its floodplain and increasing hazardous flood conditions. To combat this risk, we developed channel migration zone (CMZ) delineation methods and pioneered national standards for delineating CMZ patterns. At the request of the State of Washington, we authored Statewide CMZ Guidelines, Puget Sound CMZ Guidelines, and Pierce County’s Puyallup River CMZ Analysis.