Environmental Geology and Water Sciences

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 143–154 | Cite as

Bank conditions and erosion along selected reservoirs

  • Lawrence W. Gatto
  • William W. DoeIII


This analysis was done as the preliminary step in an ongoing study of reservoir bank erosion processes that are active in the northern U.S. The objectives of this analysis were to observe and document bank characteristics, conditions, and changes along reservoirs with eroding banks, to estimate the amounts of historical bank recession and to discuss its possible causes. Aerial photographs were used to observe the historical bank changes and estimate bank recession. Site reconnaissance, discussions with on-site personnel, and published reports were used to evaluate possible relationships between the local erosion and bank conditions. As part of this analysis linear regressions were done to determine if the estimated recession rates correlate with selected bank and climatic conditions and with physical characteristics of the reservoirs. The regression results, however, were generally not useful because they suggested relationships that are contrary to field observations and published results. Dominant bank erosion processes were wind-wave erosion, capillary wave erosion during high-water periods, groundwater-induced sliding, freeze-thaw processes, rain splash and rainwash, and boat waves. However, because of the complexity of the interrelationships of these and many other bank erosion processes and the variability of the processes at and between sites, it would be necessary to make site-specific measurements and observations year-round to evaluate the processes that are active along a particular bank.


Aerial Photograph Bank Erosion Recession Rate Bank Sediment Reservoir Bank 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrence W. Gatto
    • 1
  • William W. DoeIII
    • 2
  1. 1.Earth Sciences BranchU.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering LaboratoryHanover
  2. 2.Department of Geography and Computer ScienceU.S. Military AcademyWest Point

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