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The River system

RzekiThe Narew River is the largest north-eastern Polish river with a total length of 484 km, of which 36 km are on the Belarusian side. Its source is in the Belarusian side of the Bialowieza Forest. The main tributaries are the Supraśl, the Biebrza and the Pisa (through its right side) and the Bug (through its left side). Within the limits of the Narew National Park flow few of its watercourses. the: Liza, Szeroka Struga, Kowalówka, Awissa, Turośnianka, Czaplinianka i Kurówka.

The Park protects a section of 45 kilometers long which covers the valley between the city of Suraż and Rzędziany village. Its most important feature is the unique natural character of the river. This unusual multichannel river system is called "anastomosing ".

This anastomosing river system is characterized by a dense network of channels with different width and length, which alternately join and disconnect, forming a very complicated maze. This system is clearly different from any other rivers, mainly due to its channels construction and due to the stability of its banks. The Narew channels have a fairly flat bottom and a significant depth at the edge of their banks, normally protected against erosion by a dense root system of plants. Characteristic is also their considerable depth in relation to the width, sometimes channels in some places can have 2 meters width and may have 2-2.5 meters depth.

This multichannel river system allows the combination of several factors, being the most important one repeated, regular and prolonged flood of the valley, which occurs at least once a year, usually in spring associated with the snow melting period. Often, however, there are also floods in summer, mainly in June or July as a result of significant rainfall, the channels already with overgrown vegetation are not able to maintain the increased amount of water. The overflow of water through the channels banks can as well be due to the accumulation of ice (spring) and plants (summer). These accumulations cause the retention of water in a certain place of the riverbed so the water flow into the banks.

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