Do you own land along a creek or river? In many cases these bodies of water are the boundary or property line. In some instances the lines may go to the bank of the creek/ river but in most cases it is the centerline. As you can imagine, nature has a way of changing things! This article will discuss the processes of Accretion and Avulsion.

Accretion is defined as the process of growth or enlargement by a gradual buildup such as a : increase by external addition or accumulation (as by adhesion of external parts or particles) b : the increase of land by the action of natural forces. See the following illustrations.

Avulsion the sudden separation of land from one property and its attachment to another, especially by flooding or a change in the course of a river.

The process of avulsion in some instances can create an Oxbow Lake. Oxbow Lake – is a U-shaped body of water that forms when a wide meander from the main stem of a river is cut off, creating a free-standing body of water. This landform is so named for its distinctive curved shape, resembling the bow pin of an oxbow. The process is illustrated in the following picture. These are usually created during a huge rain event or flooding, the river floods the banks and cuts a new channel due to the velocity of the flowing water.

And of course one landowner may end up with a very nice naturally created pond or lake.

How lucky, if you are on one side of the river, you may end up with more land and a nice lake! Own property along a creek or river? Better understand these important natural processes that can affect you LAND.

Written By:

G. Kent Morris, ALC, RF

Registered Forester

Accredited Land Consultant

Associate Broker, Bickerstaff Parham Land LLC