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December 2, 2013

River Erosion: What It Is & How It Happens

River Erosion: How Does It Happen?


Here’s how you can help right now!

Erosion is the process by which soil and rock are removed from the Earth’s surface by wind or water flow, and then transported and deposited in other locations. It is an environmental reality that can have great affect on bodies of water, in addition to areas of soil and landscape. Specifically, here are some of the ways river erosion occurs.

River Erosion Facts

One of the most obvious ways erosion affects rivers is the deterioration of the river bank. Factors like wind and rain can cause the erosion of the land at the edge of the river, and high river volume also impacts the health of the river bank.

In some areas, native plants have been removed from the river bank, leaving the soil very vulnerable to sudden or chronic erosion. Crumbling river banks can be very dramatic and adversely affect structures built close to the bank.

Another way erosion affects rivers is in the sediment that ends up in the river. Gravity does its job, and dirt and other particles in a body of water sink to the bottom. Increased erosion near a river can cause an increase of sediment in the river, which can be problematic in several ways.

Salt Marsh bank erosion

Photograph by stonebird on Flickr.

  1. The large amount of sediment can cause the river to ‘rise’ in height which might make the river more prone to flooding outside its previous banks.
  2. Sediment often contains pollutants, and the increase of pollutants in the river has negative consequences on the health of both plant and animal life in the river.

How River Erosion Control Can Help Protect The Environment

In many communities, the health of its rivers is declining because of increased erosion. A few simple strategies can help protect the river banks and the water flowing in the river, which contributes to the health of the environment in the entire community. Creeklife can help you fund projects to help protect your favorite river, stream, or creek from the effects of erosion!

To learn more about river erosion control, click here
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