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Presentation Discussion

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    Mauri PElto

    Guest
    May 22, 2012 | 09:05 a.m.

    Excellent project design looking at the social-political obstacles as well as the ecologic impacts. Are any shallow sediment cores going to be taken from the floodplains? Such cores maybe revealing in terms of changes in flood frequency, erosion rates, plant communities etc.

  • Icon for: Noam Ross

    Noam Ross

    Co-Presenter
    May 24, 2012 | 12:55 a.m.

    Thanks for your comment! We haven’t been focused on reconstructing the ecological past as much as the history of actions and interactions of people living in and managing the floodplain. This means that our methods have focused on gathering historic documents in archives across the country.

    In part, this is because for the time period we’re interested in (roughly the past 100 years), things like flood frequency are well documented by the US Geological Survey, and there has been some other important reconstruction work by the San Francisco Bay Estuary Historical Ecology project. Sediment core techniques, though, would provide some useful complementary data.

  • Icon for: Steve Zicari

    Steve Zicari

    Trainee
    May 25, 2012 | 09:46 a.m.

    Nice work Aggies. We’ll keep our eyes out for opportunities for participation in the CA policy discussions you’ll be having.

  • Further posting is closed as the competition has ended.

  1. Megan Kelso
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/4680
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. University of California at Davis
  1. Jaime Ashander
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/4771
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. University of California at Davis
  1. Kelly Gravuer
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/4519
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. University of California at Davis
  1. Mary E Mendoza
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/4760
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. University of California at Davis
  1. Noam Ross
  2. http://www.igert.org/profiles/4763
  3. Graduate Student
  4. Presenter’s IGERT
  5. University of California at Davis
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Trade-Offs and Synergies in Floodplain Management: A Historical-Ecological Approach

Floodplains have long been favored sites for agriculture and settlement due to their fertility, flat topography, and proximity to rivers for easy transport of goods. To reduce flood risk in settled floodplains, extensive networks of levees and other flood protection structures have been built. These modifications have greatly reduced the ecological benefits that intact river-floodplain systems provide. There is increasing recognition that floodplain reconnection can restore some ecological benefits while further reducing flood risk. However, few of these promising multi-purpose projects have been implemented because we lack both practical methodologies for estimating benefits and an understanding of social conditions likely to facilitate project success.

Here, we use both historical and biophysical approaches to examine the trade-offs and synergies among the benefits of a proposed floodplain reconnection project in Napa, California. We examine the social evolution of attitudes and views that shaped floodplain management decisions, and that led to moments of conflict and cooperation among actors with varied interests. We also use hydraulic and population models to predict the effect of floodplain reconnection on key ecological benefits, flood risk, and availability of land for agriculture. In combination, these approaches demonstrate how social and biological forces constrain and provide opportunities in floodplain management. This understanding will inform effective implementation of multi-purpose floodplain restoration projects.