Floodplain Management: A New Approach for a New Era

Overview

A flooding river is very hard to stop. Many residents of the United States have discovered this the hard way. Right now, over five million Americans hold flood insurance policies from the National Flood Insurance Program, which estimates that flooding causes at least six billion dollars in damages every year. Like rivers after a rainstorm, the financial costs are rising along with the toll on residents. And the worst is probably yet to come. ...

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Floodplain Management: A New Approach for a New Era

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Overview

A flooding river is very hard to stop. Many residents of the United States have discovered this the hard way. Right now, over five million Americans hold flood insurance policies from the National Flood Insurance Program, which estimates that flooding causes at least six billion dollars in damages every year. Like rivers after a rainstorm, the financial costs are rising along with the toll on residents. And the worst is probably yet to come. Most scientists believe that global climate change will result in increases in flooding.
 
The authors of this book present a straightforward argument: the time to stop a flooding rivers is before is before it floods. Floodplain Management outlines a new paradigm for flood management, one that emphasizes cost-effective, long-term success by integrating physical, chemical, and biological systems with our societal capabilities. It describes our present flood management practices, which are often based on dam or levee projects that do not incorporate the latest understandings about river processes. And it suggests that a better solution is to work with the natural tendencies of the river: retreat from the floodplain by preventing future development (and sometimes even removing existing structures); accommodate the effects of floodwaters with building practices; and protect assets with nonstructural measures if possible, and with large structural projects only if absolutely necessary.

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Editorial Reviews

educator, attorney, author of <i>Our National Wetlands Heritage</i> - Jon Kusler
"The authors help the reader to rethink flood 'problems' and 'opportunities' by posing questions that need to be answered for informed floodplain management decision-making in any context. With its analytic approach and numerous examples, this book will serve admirably as a text for anyone whose work involves floodplains."
watershed and river restoration advisor, California Water Boards - Ann L. Riley
"A good read for the student or local official wanting to understand the range of topics making up the world of floodplain management— made interesting and real through case studies."
executive director, Association of State Floodplain Managers - Larry A. Larson
"This book provides steps and processes for how we can use natural river ecosystems to reduce flood risk naturally.  It also discusses ways to protect these rapidly depleting natural resources, showing how we can develop wisely, with the future in mind."
attorney, Michael Baker Jr., Inc. - Edward A. Thomas
"This book is a brilliant, practical approach to solving the problems we cause to people, the environment and the taxpayer as we develop and re-develop in hazardous areas throughout our nation's floodplains."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597266352
  • Publisher: Island Press
  • Publication date: 9/30/2009
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Freitag is executive director of the Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup and director of the Institute for Hazards Mitigation Planning & Research at the University of Washington. He has recently developed a higher education course in floodplain management for FEMA, based on the principles articulated in this book.
 
Susan Bolton is a professor at the University of Washington in the Department of Forest Resources.
 
Frank Westerlund is the chair of urban design planning at the University of Washington. Julie Clark is a geologist.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Chapter 1. Floods are not the problem
-Case study: Louisa County, Iowa
Chapter 2. A new vocabulary
-Case study: Snoqualmie, Washington
Chapter 3. Rivers and Floodplains
-Case study: Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin
Chapter 4. Natural processes must drive solutions
-Case study: New York, New York
Chapter 5. Our relationship to rivers
-Case study: Chicago, Illinois
Chapter 6. Approaches: structural and nonstructural
-Case study: Buck Hollow River, Oregon
Chapter 7. Capabilities and tools
-Case study: Davenport, Iowa
Chapter 8. Strategies: work with, not against, riversCase study: Flooding of I-5 in Washington
Chapter 9. Choosing the best strategyCase study: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Chapter 10. What next? Case study: Rivergrove
Appendix A: National Flood Insurance Program
-Case study: Fife, Washington
Appendix B: Floodplain designer's tool kit
Appendix C: Further reading

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