The high-resolution Experimental Advanced Airborne Research LIDAR (EAARL) is a new technology for cross-environment surveys of channels and floodplains. EAARL measurements of basic channel geometry, such as wetted cross-sectional area, are within a few percent of those from control field surveys. The largest channel mapping errors are along stream banks. The LIDAR data adequately support 1D and 2D computational fluid dynamics models and frequency domain analyses by wavelet transforms. Further work is needed to establish the stream monitoring capability of the EAARL and the range of water quality conditions in which this sensor will accurately map river bathymetry.