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What Is Degradation?

Degradation is the lowering of a riverbed over a period of time. Learn more about its causes and impacts below.

2011_Flood_IatianCauses of degradation

  • Land-use changes
  • Dikes and revetment construction for navigation
  • River cutoffs
  • Major floods
  • Dam construction on the river or its tributaries
  • Flow modification by reservoir regulation
  • Commercial sand/aggregate dredging

Impacts of degradation

  • Jeopardizes bridges and transportation systems
  • Necessitates modification of power plant intakes
  • exposed bridgeNecessitates modification of water supply intakes
  • Contributes to loss of shallow-water habitat
  • Contributes to loss of wetlands
  • Exposes pipeline crossings
  • Causes instability of drainage outfall structures
  • Undermines dikes, revetments and levees
  • Puts tributary bridge crossings at risk
  • Exposes navigation obstructions
  • Causes stream bank erosion on tributaries
  • Causes river bank instability and failures