Restoring Floodplains in the Connecticut River Basin: A Flood Management Strategy

TitleRestoring Floodplains in the Connecticut River Basin: A Flood Management Strategy
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsEricson, Abigail
Academic DepartmentCivil and Environmental Engineering
Number of Pages78
UniversityUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst
Keywordsbasin, climate change, flood management, floodplains

This research investigates how changes to floodplains in the Connecticut River Basin impact

flood events. Climate impacted flows and increased development within the floodplain could

lead to worsening flood events and less habitat availability for threatened species. Potential

future conditions are evaluated through a wide range of scenarios to assess the range of possible

impacts using a HEC-RAS 2D model. Three different flood events, 1-yr, 10-yr, and 100-yr, are

evaluated for each scenario. Five metrics, Discharge, Depth, Time of Arrival, Flooding Duration,

and Number of Buildings Flooded, are tracked for each scenario. These metrics are compared to

select the ideal course of action given multiple potential objectives. For interested organizations,

environment and human impact often have contradictory goals that decision makers must try to

balance. The results of this analysis provide crucial information to help inform these decision

makers. As floodplain restoration efforts increase, flood peaks decrease and habitat suitability

improves. Restoration leads to reduced flood risk for downstream inhabitants, however, the

number of impacted people residing in the floodplain increases. Flood duration also increases

expanding the available suitable land for restoration focused efforts. Alternatively, as

development in the floodplain grows, flood events increase flood risk for downstream

inhabitants, while habitat suitability diminishes and the impact to floodplain residents decreases.

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