Glendon Adventures: Diving into the river bank (literally!)

It was a typical Fall day, windy but not too cool. The leaves had begun to change to their beautiful fall colours. My partner (Mohammad) and I began our little journey on the Glendon trail with a little picnic, primarily because I was hungry and did not want to go hiking on an empty stomach! After lunch we began our way down to the segment that was assigned to us, however it did take us a while to get there because we were both in awe at how gorgeous the campus was during the Fall months! Below is a picture of what I believe to be a very “candid” shot of the beauty of Glendon.


On our way to our adventure!

The trail to our segment was gorgeous and there were even some picnic benches to sit on and take in all the scene. Our segment of the Don River consisted of one of the larger bends in the river.

Screen Shot 2016-12-03 at 2.07.20 PM.png

On this figure, the third marker from the left represents the 100 meters that my partner and I had to photograph.

As we arrived Mohammad and I were a little concerned as to what we saw.


Now thats what I call some serious erosion!

Looking at the picture above it is seen that within the bend of the river there has been lots riverbank erosion occurring. There is a steep drop off located at the bend with lots of tree debris below. How does erosion occur? Erosion can occur either naturally or through human impact. Erosion can however be healthy for a stable river, but if the river is not stable this causes a great amount of concern. Listed below are some 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



Source image:

The diagram above shows lateral erosion through the movement of a fast current. With the lateral erosion it is noticed that there is also a retreat in the river cliff, which is what is seen in the pictures taken.

There was also a lot of tree debris found within our section. According to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, large woody debris is a vital and naturally occurring component of healthy stream ecosystems and has benefits such as fish habitat, streambank stability and biological diversity.Below are some pictures of the woody debris that was located in our segment.


Large woody debris and erosion


Getting  little closer to the action!

As we continued to analyze the riverbank we noticed quite a bit of waste was found within the riverbank. There was a metal fence that was left at the drop off located on the curve of the riverbank and also a couple of road pylons buried under some trees debris as well. This was quite upsetting to see and is also concerning for the preservation and restoration of the Don River.


Road pylon stuck under some debris, meaning it has been there for quite some time


Metal fences that have been left in the riverbank

We then decided to venture closer to the river in order get a better look at our segment, and we ended up getting a really cool video of the Don River in the process!  (Located on my Twitter, I was unable to post the video for free on WordPress! Link provided below). As we continued our adventure we ran into a true treasure!


Is…that… A SKULL!?!

 Yeup! Mohammad and I could not believe what we found! We both got very excited and began to start identifying what animal it could possibly be.


Posing for the camera


We began to have a lot of fun with it to say the least, but figured it was best to leave the “treasure” where we found it and tell Professor Bazely what we had found. It was later identified to be a coyote skull, due to the handy pictures we took and collaboration with Professor Bazely and her husband! Below I have shown a picture of an identified coyote skull. It can be seen that the skull found is very comparable to this image.


coyote identified skull for comparison

Source image:



Size comparison: (Mohammad’s hand) and the mystery skull

In conclusion, my partner and I noticed that high amounts of erosion have taken place in our segment. Also, the Don River has been combatting pollution for quite some time. Recently the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority  has listed the Don River’s water quality as poor giving it an F on their report card and stating that the remaining tree life around the river is very poor. But in 2016 alone, $600,000 has been raised for awareness programs of the Don River by the Manulife Paddle event. This event raises awareness about the Don River and donations can be made to the link above. All donation go to initiatives to better the watershed. It was a joy to spend time at Glendon doing fieldwork and I will never forget this experience! I now leave you with a picture of Mohammad and I crossing the river on some rather large tree trunk make-shift bridge!


Crossing the Don!


Twitter link to video:





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