Reconnecting flood-plains to rivers

This summary of research in the USA is another example of the need to re-evaluate all activities in the light of the changing climate: ‘Back to nature’ cuts flood risks. The authors of the research make the comment, “Control infrastructure [flood management systems, such as levees] prevents high flows from entering flood-plains, thus diminishing both natural flood storage capacity and the processes that sustain healthy riverside forests and wetlands … As a result, flood-plains are among the planet’s most threatened ecosystems” – the flood-plain is not merely a space for water to overflow into, it is a vibrant ecosystem in its own right. This is the view we need as against the view that sees the environment as just something for our convenience that we manage for short term interest.

A good message is that land in the flood-plain that may get flooded may still be used in the non-flooding seasons for agriculture. We, that is most of us, get multiple benefits from working with natural systems. Only a few get benefits from working in competition to natural systems.