Definition of Terms

 Definition of Terms

There is a lot of technical terms on the Rivers and Streams website. This page is designed to help navigate and define these words and phrases. Use the line below to skip to a certain letter.
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TermDefinition
Dam:
An obstruction to the flow of water that increase the water elevation upstream of the barrier.
Degradation:
Process by which streambed and floodplains are lowered in elevation by the removal of materials. Compare with aggradation.
Deposition:
Settling of material from the water column and accumulation on the bottom or stream banks.
Depth:
Measured distance between stream bed and surface of water
Diadromous:
Life history strategy that includes movement between fresh- and saltwater. Two migrations to spend various states in life in different ecosystems. Compare with anadromous, catadromous, and potamodrous.
Diatom:
Microscopic algae that occurs as plankton or attached to the bottom with a skeleton made of silicon.
Discharge:
Rate at which a volume of water flows past a point per unit of time. Usually expressed as cubic meters per second or cubic feet per second.
Dissolved oxygen:
Concentration of oxygen dissolved in water, expressed as milligrams per liter or as a percent of saturation.
Drainage:
A watershed that contains all tributary rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes that drain a given area.
Drainage basin:
The total surface land area drained by a stream or river from its headwater to its mouth. See catchment basin and watershed.