Hydrologic and geomorphic considerations in restoration of river-floodplain connectivity in a highly altered river system, Lower Missouri River, USA

Wetlands Ecology and Management
By: , and 

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Abstract

Planning for restoration of river-floodplain systems requires understanding how often and how much of a floodplain may be inundated, and how likely the floodplain is to retain the water once flooded. These factors depend fundamentally on hydrology and geomorphology of the channel and floodplain. We discuss application of an index of river-floodplain connectivity, the Land Capability Potential Index (LCPI), to regional-scale restoration planning along 600 km of the Lower Missouri River. The LCPI integrates modeled water-surface elevations, floodplain topography, and soils to index relative wetness of floodplain patches. Geomorphic adjustment of the Lower Missouri River to impoundment and channel engineering has altered the natural relations among hydrology, geomorphology, and floodplain soils, and has resulted in a regional upstream to downstream gradient in connectivity potential. As a result, flow-regime management is limited in its capacity to restore floodplain ecosystems. The LCPI provides a tool for identifying and mapping floodplain restoration potential, accounting for the geomorphic adjustment. Using simple criteria, we illustrate the utility of LCPI-like approaches in regional planning for restoration of plains cottonwood (Populus deltoides) communities, hydrologically connected floodplain wetlands, and seasonal floodplain wetlands.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Hydrologic and geomorphic considerations in restoration of river-floodplain connectivity in a highly altered river system, Lower Missouri River, USA
Series title Wetlands Ecology and Management
DOI 10.1007/s11273-011-9217-3
Volume 19
Issue 4
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Columbia Environmental Research Center
Description 12 p.
First page 295
Last page 316
Country United States
Other Geospatial Lower Missouri River