Nov 15, 2017

Geoscientists Investigate Flood Risk Management

UMass Amherst scientists seek to include geomorphic processes in flood risk management planning

Scientists investigate flood management

According to a press release from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a group of geoscientists reported on a four-year project researching the benefits of including fast moving water in risk planning. Currently, most risk managers in the U.S. focus on the effects of inundation over geomorphic processes when planning responses to river floods.

Only 9 states in the U.S. have investigated managing risks of fast-moving flood waters, and only Vermont and Washington have implemented geomorphic-based flood risk management systems based on river mapping and land form assessment. This change is particularly a result of increased damages from landslides, bank failures, bed incision and sedimentation.

Christine Hatch, the lead author of the report, said, “We need to set aside some space for rivers to be rivers, to let them move and meander, to let them flood and drain, to let them bring fertile soil to our floodplains and carry fresh water and aquatic life from headwaters to sea. But we also live and drive and work alongside rivers, and have developed our communities beside them.” Her goal is to bring awareness to river processes in order to create more effective flood-risk management systems that are technically sound. The report was supported by the Massachusetts Fluvial Geomorphology Task Force.