Sediment is one of the most common pollutants in waterbodies such as streams, rivers and lakes. Sources of sediment include upland areas, meaning lands above the floodplain, as well as the waterbodies themselves (Figure 1). Human activities that reduce or remove vegetation increase the amount of soil eroded. In the uplands, examples of sediment sources include tilled crop fields, grazed pastures, construction sites, and timber harvesting areas. Along water bodies, the beds and banks erode due to the force of moving water. Streambank erosion, for instance, contributes anywhere from 15 to 90% of the suspended sediment load in streams.
Chattopadhyay, Somsubhra; Agouridis, Carmen T.; and Fox, James F., "Sediment Fingerprinting" (2016). Agriculture and Natural Resources Publications. Paper 86.