Riprap, or the piling of boulders or concrete rubble along a shoreline, is designed to protect manmade structures (such as railroad trestles, levees, dams, roads) and property from flooding and/or erosion. Natural riverine systems and shorefronts have their own ways of preventing erosion-- including vegetation and the occasional flood.

Used along river banks, riprap creates abnormal stream dynamics, increasing stream velocity and so increase erosion downstream on opposite banks (conveniently creating the need for more riprap). Along the oceanfront, it may have unforeseen consequences on the regular distribution of sand. Riprap is often quarried from someplace other than where it is placed- so it doesn't blend in or match the natural geology of the landscape.

Rip"rap` (?), n. [Cf. Rap.] Masonry

A foundation or sustaining wall of stones thrown together without order, as in deep water or on a soft bottom.

 

© Webster 1913.


Rip"rap`, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Riprapped (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Riprapping.]

To form a riprap in or upon.

 

© Webster 1913.

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