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How To Spot Erosion Problems

Updated: Aug 1, 2022

Understanding and Evaluating Erosion Problems

Why Erosion Is Bad News

Erosion increases pollution and sedimentation in rivers, streams, and other waterways. That also causes declines in fish and other species.

Erosion causes problems for agriculture, such as higher runoff rates, subsoil exposure, and the loss of crops.

Erosion damages infrastructures like roads and railway tracks, airport runways, and urban developments. The damage to infrastructure can pose a significant threat to human life. For example, roads affected by erosion due to adverse weather conditions can cripple supplies to affected locations.

What Causes Erosion?

When it comes to shoreline erosion or other forms of erosion, there are typically two leading causes: water and wind. The causes might be due to progressive natural events, or they could be down to sudden ones like storms and hurricanes.

Erosion can affect any shoreline or inland area, regardless of its geographical location. Even places that most would consider to have calm waters or little irregular weather patterns can become eroded.


Water erosion is a common problem for shoreline areas. Coasts and beaches are what many people would typically associate with erosion. But, it also occurs in inland areas like creeks, ponds, wastewater treatment plants, and more.

Water erosion can occur from the act of waves crashing into the coastline, but also from adverse weather conditions like storms and unseasonable rain.


Wind is also another contributing factor to erosion. Wind can move soil from one location to another.

Signs Of Erosion

For the most part, erosion is a slow progressive action. That means you won't usually see much happening in a short timeframe. However, it can become noticeable if you take regular images or aerial photography and compare the photos.

One of the leading questions many people have is, how can you tell if erosion is happening? The following are examples of common signs:

Lack of Vegetation

Poor soil conditions that do not sustain vegetation growth often lead to accelerated erosion. These areas lack a root structure to hold the soil in place.

Exposed Rocks

After the smaller soil particles are washed away, erosion will bring items like rocks to the surface, which are clearly visible. If you have noticed an abundance of rocks showing along shorelines or elsewhere inland, you've likely come across another telltale sign of erosion.

Exposed Tree Roots

As erosion progresses, another sign of it happening is when you see exposed tree roots along shorelines. It's evident if you notice trees that are right against shorelines, perhaps some distance away from normal water levels.

Stream-Like Indentations

One final sign of erosion is when you notice stream-like indentations that have carved areas out of the ground. It happens both on shorelines and coastlines, and elsewhere like at lakes and other bodies of water.

Erosion Control Options

Some examples:

Planting Vegetation

Consider planting vegetation. Plant roots do a great job of allowing water to move into the soil instead of causing it to erode.

Flexamat Erosion Control Solutions

Flexamat erosion control solutions are an excellent way to stop shoreline and soil erosion permanently. Flexamat concrete block mats can get utilized for stabilizing shorelines, slopes, channels, and more.

One of the many advantages of using Flexamat is that it allows for optional vegetation growth.


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