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How transforming riverbanks can clean contaminated waterways

Rivers throughout the eastern United States are well known for their high banks and steep, winding courses. But in 2008 scientists proposed that years of damming rivers had transformed them from marshy streams good at filtering waste to the pollution chutes they can often be today. In 2011, they removed 22,000 tons of sediment from the banks of a small Pennsylvania stream; its success has since spurred more than a dozen similar restoration projects. Watch to learn how researchers forged a new path for shaping rivers by challenging a long-held assumption about riverbanks in the eastern United States.