Collaborative Project
Floodplain management: opportunies, challenges, and successes

Napa River, © Joe Burke

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.

Floodplains also provide ecosystem services and important habitat for fish, birds, insects, and other fauna.

To reduce flood risk in settled floodplains, agencies and landowners have built extensive networks of levees and other flood protection structures. These modifications have greatly reduced the ecological benefits that intact river-floodplain systems provide. Water managers now recognize that reconnecting floodplains can restore some ecological benefits while further reducing flood risk. However, few of these promising multi-purpose projects have been implemented because agencies, scientists, and the public lack both practical methodologies for estimating benefits and an understanding of social conditions likely to facilitate project success.

To better understand the benefits of and challenges to floodplain restoration, a group of researchers from UC Davis has used historical and biophysical approaches to examine the trade-offs and synergies of floodplain reconnection.

Workshop -- Multiple Goals in Floodplain Restoration: A Historical and Ecological Perspective

This fall, the floodplain project researchers and experts from academia, agencies, non-profits, and other stakeholders will meet to exchange ideas about floodplain restoration.

14 September 2012, 9am-4pm
Plant Sciences 3001
UC Davis

Speakers include...

  • Jeff Mount, Roy J. Shlemon Chair in Applied Geosciences and Founding Director, Center for Watershed Science, UC Davis
  • John Cain, Director of Conservation for California Flood Management, American Rivers
  • Philip Garone, Associate Professor of History, California State University, Stanislaus
  • and REACH IGERT students Jaime Ashander (Population Biology Graduate Group), Kelly Gravuer (Ecology Graduate Group), Megan Kelso (Ecology Graduate Group), Mary E. Mendoza (History Graduate Program), and Noam Ross (Ecology Graduate Group), presenting the results of their analyses of floodplain restoration.

The workshop also will include a panel discussion among agency staff, policymakers, and city planners to contribute practical perspectives on floodplain restoration. Panelists include...

Free with preregistration, attendance limited, refreshments provided.

  • registration closed; room is at capacity. Please contact Carole Hom (clhom [at] ucdavis [dot] edu) if you have questions or would like to be placed on a waiting list.
  • information about conference logistics
  • download the conference flyer

Sponsored by the REACH IGERT at UC Davis, with funding from the US National Science Foundation.

Sneak preview

Researcher Megan Kelso describes the project in this video, which (with the poster that accompanied it) received both Judge's Choice and Community Choice awards at the 2012 NSF IGERT Poster Competition.


For more information, contact Carole Hom (clhom [at] ucdavis [dot] edu)

photo credits: left: juvenile Fremont cottonwood, © Brian Dean Bollman,
top: Yolo Bypass and the Sacramento skyline, © Dave Feliz