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Stream bank erosion

What is it?

Stream bank erosion occurs where streams begin cutting deeper and wider channels as a consequence of increased peak flows or the removal of local protective vegetation.

Land degradation - An example of stream erosion
An articulated excavator driving wooden piles into the outside curve of a stream to protect the banks from further erosion


The major impacts of stream bank erosion are:
  • To increase in stream sediment and turbidity
  • Chew into surrounding riparian lands
  • Destroy stream habitat
  • Damage fences, bridges and roads


Managing stream bank erosion is often dealing with the effects rather than these causes. The raised peak flows are usually due to decline in vegetative cover in the catchments and broadscale catchment works are not generally.

Local control activities involve mechanical stabilisation of stream frontages to enable the maintenance of riparian vegetation. They might also involve prevention of stock access to streams.
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