Date of Award

2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Natural Resources

First Advisor

Beverley Coghill-Wemple

Abstract

Floodplains play a major role in maintaining the health and sustainability of riverine systems, but human interventions have reduced the connectivity between stream channels and floodplains. Geomorphic assessments of streams and rivers in Vermont (USA) show they have been significantly altered within the past two centuries due to straightening, berming, and armoring channels to accommodate development, agriculture, roads, and rail lines. These alterations in river-floodplain connectivity have decreased floodplain functioning, specifically their capacity to store water during flood events. Currently, there is a lack of knowledge concerning the amount of floodwater, sediment, and nutrient retention provided by Vermont’s floodplains. This research seeks to address this gap using newly derived floodplain maps of the Vermont portion of the Lake Champlain Basin to estimate floodwater storage under varying recurrence interval floods and to assess constraints on this storage. Additionally, floodplain inundation maps were used along with geomorphic and geographic proximity analysis to develop a floodplain-reconnection prioritization system to leverage opportunities for restoration along inactive rail lines. I tested the methodology in portions of the Lamoille and Missisquoi River basins and provide estimates of enhanced floodwater storage associated with restoration opportunities.

Language

en

Number of Pages

76 p.

Available for download on Thursday, March 23, 2023

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