River Bank erosion is perhaps the most common problem facing many streams in today’s waterway systems. Streams are very dynamic ecosystems that move, grow and change naturally or when human activities impact them.
In Africa every year, large hectares of agricultural land , usually follow the River and go, making the owner losing the farmland and the crops at the same time .
African Climate reporters has visited some stream and River in some state of Northern Nigeria to see the impact of this problems to agricultural land ,and also to see how to deliberate on the issues with the farmers that are farming alone the river bank every year
Indeed ,River bank erosion occurs both naturally and through human impact. Rivers and streams are dynamic systems as they are constantly changing. The natural process of riverbank erosion can produce favorable outcomes such as the formation of productive floodplains and alluvial terraces. Some stable rivers have a healthy amount of erosion; however, unstable rivers and the erosion taking place on those banks are a cause for concern.
River Bank erosion has several causes with even more factors that can accelerate it. The major causes are flooding, land use, stream management, over-clearing of catchment and stream bank vegetation, and poorly managed sand and gravel extraction\
Factors That Accelerate Erosion:
- Stream bed lowering or in fill
- Flooding of bank soils followed by rapid drops in flow
- Saturation of banks from off-stream source
- Redirection and acceleration of flow within the channel
- Poor Soil Drainage
- Wave Action
- Excessive Sand/Gravel Extraction
- Intense Water from Rainfall
Bank erosion is a natural process: without it, rivers would not Meander and change course. However, land management patterns that change the hydrograph and/or vegetation cover can act to increase or decrease channel migration rates.
In many places, whether or not the banks are unstable due to human activities, people try to keep a river in a single place. This can be done for environmental reclamation or to prevent a river from changing course into land that is being used by people.
Indeed ,One way that this is done is by placing riprap or gabions along the bank. A common natural method to reduce bank erosion is the re-introduction of native plant species in the area. The expansive root systems of these plants provide support within the soil and prevents erosion due to rain runoff.
Impacts of river bank erosion are multifarious: social, economic, health, education and sometimes political, The first and foremost impact is social, i.e., homelessness due to land erosion which compels people to migrate, After forced migration they suffer from economic crisis, namely loss of occupation and loss of property, and they are at the risk of poverty and sometimes involvement in criminal activities
Each year, arable land is lost due to desertification and human-induced erosion. Improper irrigation of farm land can wick the sodium, calcium, and magnesium from the soil and water to the surface. This process steadily concentrates salt in the root zone, decreasing productivity for crops that are not salt-
African farmers must also find means of planting more trees in their farm land,so as to protect their farm land against all forms of threat ,
In conclusion, Union of African presidents must team-up and support the fight against climate change in the region