Reconnecting Floodplains and Restoring Green Space as a Management Strategy to Minimize Risk and Increase Resilience in the Context of Climate and Landscape Change

Project Type: 
Core Research Project
Fiscal Year: 
Project Leader: 
Research Partners: 
Keith Nislow (University of Massachusetts Amherst); Cathy Bozek (The Nature Conservancy); Kathryn Kennedy (The Nature Conservancy); Kim Lutz (The Nature Conservancy); Christian O. Marks (The Nature Conservancy)
Project Fellows: 
Science Themes: 

This research seeks to identify opportunities to manage flows, connections, and landscapes in a way that increases the resilience of human communities and ecosystems. Our research will identify dynamic and adaptive solutions to managing river flows that 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. The research proposed is directly responsive to the NECSC’s FY15 Science Theme 3: Climate impacts on freshwater resources and ecosystems, Priority 1: Effects of Climate Change on Hydrologic Regimes, Ecological Flows, and Aquatic Connectivity. The goals of the research are threefold: 1) Evaluate the potential impacts of climate change on hydrologic regimes, 2) Determine the flow regime changes that will be required to provide riverine environmental services and any risk associated with these changes, and 3) Explore management alternatives that mitigate potential negative impacts and improve system robustness. Project goals will be accomplished by performing the following tasks: 1) Explicitly incorporate land use and climate change projections into hydrologic models to determine effects on stream flow, including changes in streamflow volumes, timing of runoff, and frequency of extreme events; 2) Develop economic and physical measures of floodplain performance that capture the environmental services provided and the losses associated with changing flow regimes, 3) Evaluate how the effectiveness of green infrastructure strategies, including floodplain protection and storage, would alter these effects, 4) Develop a structured decision-making framework that incorporates short-term streamflow forecasting, environmental services damage functions, and adaptive management strategies.

  • New England Graduate Student Water Symposium, Sept. 9-11 2016. Oral Presentation
  • NEARC Conference - Oct 16-19. Two poster presentation
  • Abigail Ericson, National Science Center Student and Early Career Training - Nov 2-3 2016. Speed Talk
  • ResSim Model for upper CT River for quantifying the Maidstone VT floodplain storage
  • Hec-Ras model for upper CT River for quantifying Maidstone VT floodplain storage