Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Much of Mississippi River sediment comes from stream bank collapse, rather than field runoff

Date:
February 25, 2011
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Much of the Mississippi River's sediment load doesn't come from field runoff, according to work by scientists. Instead, researchers have confirmed that stream bank collapse and failure can be chief contributors to high sediment levels in the silty streams and rivers that flow into the Mississippi.

An example of seepage erosion from a section of Goodwin Creek in Mississippi.
Credit: Photo by Glenn Wilson.

Much of the Mississippi River's sediment load doesn't come from field runoff, according to work by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Instead, the scientists with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have confirmed that stream bank collapse and failure can be chief contributors to high sediment levels in the silty streams and rivers that flow into the Mississippi.

Related Articles


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lists sediment as the most common pollutant of rivers, streams, lakes and reservoirs in the United States. Trapped sediment can reduce the useful lifespan of dams and reservoirs, exacerbate flooding, harm aquatic plants and animals, and transport other pollutants downstream. Over the years, billions of dollars have been spent on stream bank protection and restoration efforts to stem erosion and reduce sedimentation loads.

The source of this sediment load is often attributed to erosion and runoff from farm fields. But ARS hydrologist Glenn Wilson, who works at the agency's National Sedimentation Laboratory in Oxford, Miss., spent several years looking more closely at the causes of stream bank erosion. His studies focused on how seepage -- the lateral movement of water through the ground -- could prompt conditions that led to stream bank failure.

Wilson and others confirmed for the first time that a stable stream bank can quickly become unstable when seepage erosion is added to the mix of factors that promote bank failure. They found that seepage from stream banks was eroding layers of soil that subsequently would wash down the face of the stream bank and into the stream itself. This added to the sediment load in the stream and also left the bank itself weakened and vulnerable to collapse.

The researchers concluded that stream bank failure may stem as much -- or more -- from the effect of seepage erosion undercutting the stream banks as from the added weight of the waterlogged stream banks.

Results from this work were published in the Journal of Hydrologic Engineering and Earth Surface Processes and Landforms.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Much of Mississippi River sediment comes from stream bank collapse, rather than field runoff." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110223151939.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2011, February 25). Much of Mississippi River sediment comes from stream bank collapse, rather than field runoff. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110223151939.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Much of Mississippi River sediment comes from stream bank collapse, rather than field runoff." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110223151939.htm (accessed February 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Whale-Watching Scientists Spot Baby Orca

Whale-Watching Scientists Spot Baby Orca

AP (Feb. 28, 2015) Researchers following endangered killer whales spotted a baby orca off the coast of Washington state, the third birth documented this winter but still leaving the population dangerously low. (Feb. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bridge Collapses Due to Flooding in Bolivia

Bridge Collapses Due to Flooding in Bolivia

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 28, 2015) Heavy rain and flooding sweep through parts of Bolivia causing damage and leaves more than 2,000 people homeless. Sophia Soo reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Death Toll from Afghan Avalanches Tops 200

Death Toll from Afghan Avalanches Tops 200

AFP (Feb. 27, 2015) More than 200 people have been killed in a series of avalanches triggered by heavy snowfall in Afghanistan. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
France, Philippines Call for Agreement on Climate Change

France, Philippines Call for Agreement on Climate Change

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 27, 2015) The presidents of France and the Philippines issue a joint appeal for a binding agreement on climate change. Katie Sargent reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins