Glendon Photo Essay: Best moment at YU

After I finished class, my best friend Nick picked me up at the Keele campus and off we drove to the Glendon campus for our field assignment. As it was not winter yet, we had the chance to climb up trees and logs to get a better overview of the area. Well,  I was mostly climbing around due to my parkour background. We discovered something interesting later on, thanks to my antics!


From the above picture, highlighted is our assigned segment (Segment #3)

As Nick was hitting the gym hard, we had to eat before we could actually start ‘working’. On our way down to our assigned segment, we were amazed by the scenery that unfolded before us.


On our way to our assigned segment.

However, their was no trail to get to the river for our segment. We had to make our way through trees and getting small cuts along the way.


Above is our ‘entrance’ to our river segment.

We started from the West side and made our way towards the east while documenting the riverbank.img_1875

Above shows the west side of our stretch, which was already concerning. There was a big pile up of tree debris and man-made products were thrown in there. For example, on the right side of the picture above, we can see a ‘green dinosaur’ on one tree log.



Severe Erosion



What most likely occurred here was erosion due to slumping of the river bank. Erosion of river bank occurs mainly by 2 processes: Corrasion (erosion due to breaking waves) and slumping (Hooke, 1979). As there is no significant wave here, slumping caused the pictured erosion. A study by Wolman (in 1959) also discovered that erosion occured mostly in winter month, due to increased moisture in the soil and crystallization of ice.  We can see that roots are sticking out from the side of the eroded wall and this may have slowed down the erosion. The fences inside were probably up to restrict access but fell inside later on.


These debris reduced the water flow from the stream considerably, as we will see later on. However, wood debris are important as they serve as nutrients pool and store carbon and nitrogen which can be used by organisms in that environment later on (Robertson et al., 1999).



Start of our segment-West side

Above is the start of our segment, from the West side. We can see that the stream flow is normal without any hindrance.


Slumping on other side (North side) of the bank



Wood debris on (south side) on the bank


Upstream view, before the debris

Above is a full view of upstream our segment, before and including the debris.As we can see on the left (North side),  the river bank is slumping.



Large portion of the area (south side) covered by debris, making it impossible for water to flow there.


Severe Erosion




Considerably reduced water flow: Downstream of the debris and blockade (looking at the East side)


Immediately downstream of the debris (East side)



On the left (North Side), the river bank seems to be man-made (felt and looked like macadam texture)


Slumping observed


Looking downstream (east side), 10 m after the debris


Downstream the debris, looking at the debris (looking at the north side) on the top half of the picture


A closer look at the river bank (on the north side), very similar to macadam


View of downstream the debris (view from up a tree)


Looking downstream


Looking upstream. The macadam segment went on for about 50 m, downstream of the debris


Me looking at the river bank and analyzing it!

The picture above provides context to the picture below. While up a tree, I discovered something interesting tucked inside a tree crevice. (Forget that I nearly slipped and fell into the river here!)


A skull!!!

That’s right, we found a skull! With the help of Dr. Dawn and her husband, Nick and I identified a coyote skull.


80 m downstream the river, looking at the north side


80 m downstream, looking upstream (West side)


80 m downstream the debris, slumping can be seen on the north side of the river nut no macadam was observed.


Logs conveniently present to allow me to climb on it and take a picture of the river.


100m downstream: upstream view of the river from its center (obtained by standing on the above log). Slumping can be observed on the right (north side) whereas the left side (south side) shows lateral erosion.


On the log, preparing to take pictures!

In conclusion, the start of our segment had a large number of debris that were concerning. Walking down the river, we observed slumping on  the north side of the river (banks) but lateral erosion on the south side of the river (bank). Awareness has been raised concerning the issues in Don River by Hopefully, the above pictures and that of my partner (Glendon Adventures: Diving into the river bank (literally!)) can be used to help restore this beautiful stream.

As a final note, here is a picture of Nick and I, with only me on the log as Nick was a bit scared.


Posing on the Don River!!


Hooke JM. 1979. An Analysis of the Processes of River Bank Erosion. Journal of Hydrology. 42: 39-62.

Robertson AI, Bunn SE, Boon PI, Walker KF. 1999. Sources, sinks and transformations of organic carbon in Australian floodplain rivers. Mar. Freshwater Res. 50: 813–829.

Wolman MG. 1959. Factors influencing erosion of a cohesive riverbank. American Journal of Science. 257: 204-216

Mohammad Arshad Imrit

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