NE CASC principal investigators Richard Palmer and Keith Nislow completed the project Reconnecting Floodplains and Restoring Green Space as a Management Strategy to Minimize Risk and Increase Resilience in the Context of Climate and Landscape Change. This research identified opportunities to manage flows, connections, and landscapes to increase the resilience of human communities and ecosystems. New dynamic and adaptive solutions to managing river flows will allow continued provision of valuable infrastructure services such as flood control, hydropower, and water supply, while also supporting thriving river ecosystems - both today and into the future.
Study findings suggest that as floodplain restoration efforts increase-
- Flood peaks decrease downstream
- Habitat suitability improves
- Restoration leads to reduced flood risk for downstream inhabitants, however, the number of impacted people residing directly in the upstream floodplain can increase.
- Flood flow duration can also increase expanding the available suitable land for restoration focused efforts.
Alternatively, as development in the upstream floodplain grows-
- Flood events increase flood risk for downstream inhabitants
- Habitat suitability diminishes and the impact to floodplain residents decreases.
- Sandbars and islands in lowland rivers form when sediment (silt, sand, and gravel) is deposited in places where the stream velocity decreases
Written by Communications Intern Mike Crowley