Final Report: Reconnecting Floodplains and Restoring Green Space as a Management Strategy to Minimize Risk and Increase Resilience in the Context of Climate and Landscape Change
The "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 consists of two studies, both of which result in deliverable findings. The first builds a hydraulic model that successfully projects how land use and flooding frequency in the Maidstone Bends floodplain impact the Connecticut River. The second develops a spatial model that successfully maps sandbars within a watershed and provides information about how the sediment moves and deposits in a river. Both of these models are potential tools for floodplain connectivity projects that seek to manage floodplain habitats for the benefit of human communities and ecological integrity.
The findings suggest that floodplain restoration can strengthen flood management, but full restoration is unnecessary to enhance protection against floods. Smaller restoration projects can reduce flood peaks while lessening the negative social and economic impacts on people and property located downstream. In the river itself, the largest sandbars are found in unregulated rivers where naturally eroding banks contribute more sediment. In all 13 rivers, sandbars decrease downstream, due to natural sedimentation patterns and storage of sediment in dams. Dam management changes may alleviate the impacts of diminished sediment loads.