Illustration of Channel Geomorphology and Change Overtime
Due to Watershed Degradation

Valley bottom stream channel.

Loss of vegetation causes instability of banks leading to erosion.

The channel bottom begins to erode down (headcutting) and leaves banks high and vertical.

Steep cutbanks slough off into the channel causing increased sediment loads and bank undercuts.

Laidback and stepped channel profile begins to stabilize as vegetation holds the streambanks.

Inset stream channel. The stream is now functioning within the historic channel with decreased baseflow and riparian vegetation management and protection.

Illustration is from: Rosgen, D. 1996.
Applied River Morphology.
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Minneapolis, Minnesota.