Science to Inform Management of Floodplain Conservation Lands under Non-Stationary Conditions

Fiscal Year: 
Project Leader: 
Research Partners: 
Craig Paukert (University of Missouri - USGS Cooperative Research); Kenneth Lubinski (USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Research)
Science Themes: 

Recent extreme floods on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers (1993, 1995, 1997, 2007, 2010, and 2011) have motivated expansion of floodplain conservation lands. Within the state of Missouri, for example, there are more than 85,000 acres of State and Federally owned conservation lands in large-river floodplains. Floodplain lands are highly dynamic and challenging to manage. Variable exchanges of water, sediment, nutrients, and carbon between the river and the floodplain result in a diverse, productive, and ever-changing mosaics of habitat patches. In addition to conservation benefits, these lands have the potential to provide valuable ecosystem services like habitats, nutrient processing, carbon sequestration, and flood-water storage that produce economic values in terms of recreational spending, improved water quality, and decreased flood hazards. As hydrologic conditions in upstream watersheds vary due to climate change, land-use change, and changes in reservoir management – so-called non-stationary conditions – management challenges are compounded. Managers face questions about how decisions made today – such as which lands to acquire, design of vegetation restorations, decisions to invest in water-management infrastructure – will be affected by the hydroclimatic conditions of the future.  The objective of this project is to formalize understanding of information needs for management of floodplain conservation lands so the right information is available at the right time.

  • Susannah Erwin, Robert Jacobson, Christopher Holly, Eric Allen, Caroline Elliott, and Edward Bulliner. Hydrodynamic Modeling to Evaluate the Influence of Channel Morphology and Hydrology on Larval Drift of Pallid Sturgeon in the Lower Missouri River. Poster presentation at Missouri River Natural Resources Conference, March 10-12.

  • Quantifying floodplain ecosystem services - benefits of restoration and flood-risk reduction. Presentation to the Floodplain Science Network. April 13, 2015.

  • Garth Lindner, Kristen Bouska, Robert Jacobson, and Craig Paukert. Stakeholder-led science: engaging floodplain conservation land managers to identify and meet science needs. International Society for River Science, La Crosse, Wisconsin, August 24, 2015.
  • Poster presentation Climate Science Center workshop and traineeship in Amherst, MA, November 2-4, 2016​ 

  • Robert Jacobson, Poster presentation at Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, Grand Rapids, MI. January 2016.

  • Oral presentation at the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference in Lincoln Nebraska, January 2017
  • Oral presentation at the Missouri River Natural Resources Conference, Nebraska City, Nebraska, March, 2017.

  • Oral presentation for the Floodplain Science Network Webinar Series, April, 2017.
  • Oral presentation at the Water for Food Global Conference, Lincoln, Nebraska, April, 2017.​