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Midwest Wilderness Connections Eco-brief: Midwest Streams and Floodplains

Many Midwest streams and rivers have been straightened by channelization. The soil removed from the stream channel is often sidecast next to the stream creating levees that block the stream off from its floodplain and wetlands. In an attempt to repair the damage done, the stream starts to downgrade and becomes more erosive. As a result, wildlife habitat is severely impacted and flood damage and instances of levee failure increase. The most common pollutant in Midwest streams is excessive sediment. Greater emphases on the restoration of streams and rivers to their original channels is needed. Many wetland and wildlife habitat restoration lands have focused on restoring uplands and floodplain wetlands without addressing the channelized streams they depend on.

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