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Erosion: Where’s the Bank? (JHARVNC)

TopicGeology - Erosion
Soil erosion can’t be stopped, but it can be controlled.  Participants learn types of erosion, how it damages and ways to prevent it.
Recommended SettingClassroom and outside
LocationJanet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center, Fort Smith
Education Program Coordinator, 479-452-3993
Duration30 - 45 minutes
Suggested Number of Participants25 - 30
  • Learn the different types of erosion
  • Learn how erosion damages
  • Learn different types of erosion prevention
Key Terms*


Gully erosion

Land slip or calving erosion

Riparian zone

Sheet or rill erosion

Tunnel erosion

Wind erosion

Mulberry River PowerPoint

Define Erosion – the gradual wearing away of land by water, wind and general weather conditions

Types of Erosion and Examples
  • Gully erosion–concentrated flows of water scour the sides of water channels
  • Tunnel erosion–excessive water rushes through areas along cracks, root channels, animal burrows and pipe tunnels
  • Sheet or rill erosion–rain drops and surface water flows cause shallow stripping of soil (washboard effect)
  • Wind erosion–wind has direct access to bare soil and causes soil breakdown and removal
    • Fine material can be transported long distances
    • Coarse material moves locally by bouncing and rolling
  • Land slips or calving–sloping soils become unstable and slide downhill due to gravity and moisture
    • Excess moisture in areas
    • Construction
  • Stream bank erosion–streams begin cutting deeper water channels due to large volumes of water in small water sheds
    • Removal of local vegetation
    • Large producer of oxbow lakes

Show Power Point from Stream Team on Mulberry River

  • Discuss problems due to man’s influence
    • Removal of bank vegetation
    • Chemicals and pollutants
    • A view isn’t worth the expense
  • Discuss ways to fix problem areas
  • Discuss the expense

Follow up on Riparian Zone

  • What is a riparian zone?
  • Why keep a riparian zone?
    • Watershed protection
    • Animal habitat
  1. Start in classroom defining different types of erosion and show examples.
  2. Show power point on Mulberry River.
  3. Discuss importance of the riparian zone.
  4. Discuss the AGFC Stream Team program and how to get involved.
  • List three causes of erosion.
  • Can turbidity lead to poor stream quality? Why?
  • Why is a riparian zone so important?
  • Are there any streams in your area that would benefit from the Stream Team?

Erosion – the natural process by which the surface of the earth is worn away by the action of water, glaciers, winds, waves, etc.


Gully erosion – Severe erosion produced by running water in which trenches are cut to a depth greater than a foot and deep enough to cross with farm equipment


Land slip or calving erosion – when sloping soils slide downhill due to gravity and moisture or construction


Riparian zone – plant communities that are the interface between land and a stream or other body of water


Sheet or rill erosion – occurs when rain drops and surface water flows cause shallow stripping of soil (washboard effect); in sheet erosion, channels are not formed; in rill erosion, numerous small channels are cut, generally up to 30 centimeters deep


Tunnel erosion – an insidious form of erosion caused by excessive movement of water through a sub-surface soil, causing damage before surface evidence is noted; also called piping erosion

Wind erosion – movement of rock and sediment by the wind; also known as eolian (or Aeolian) erosion