River Bed Degradation

The river changes character when it is dredged. Dredging deepens the channel, making the water run more swiftly and causing it to erode the banks and down cut. When you add levees to harden the banks, the Kaw looses its lazy, snaky character and becomes a straight, deep channel. These two images from Google Earth were taken in July, 2007. Notice how the upper river has a channel full of sand bars, while the lower river has none. Dredging, head cutting, and channelization from levees have all added to the problem-- the lower river through KCK is so degraded that it is no longer profitable to mine sand.