Rivers of Washington

Learning Target:  You will gain an understanding of a river system.
Success Criteria: In partners, discuss the difference between a tributary and the mouth of a river.

A Land of Rivers

Washington state is a land of rivers. It's estimated there are well over 150 uniquely named rivers and streams. Rivers are responsible for a host of things, from providing freshwater to erosion. Let's take a look at a river system broken down:

Source: Sources of rivers can include glaciers, springs, or lakes, or other small water sources, such as tiny streams. The source of the Columbia River starts in Canada at Columbia Lake.
Meander: One of a series of regular curves, bends, loops, turns, or windings in the channel of a river. The Yakima River has a regular series of curves.
Levee: A type of natural dike or stopbank occurring ridge. There are also man-made levees.
Confluence: Where one water source meets another. For example, where the Washougal River meets the Columbia River is an example of a confluence.
Tributary: A river or stream flowing into a larger river or lake.
Estuary: The tidal mouth of a large river, where the tide meets the river. A great example of this can be found where the Elwha River meets the ocean.
Mouth: The place where the river enters the ocean. Nothing more treacherous than the mouth of the Columbia River.
Oxbow Lake: An oxbow lake is a U-shaped lake that forms when a wide meander of a river is cut off, creating a free-standing body of water. Again, the Yakima River is a good example of this.
Channel: Narrow body of water.