Flood Management Interventions and Ecosystems

Structural flood management measures have been the favoured flood management options in the past. Although they continue to play a vital role in protecting people on flood plains against frequent flooding, the ecological impacts of these measures become apparent as well. Many structural flood management measures have the potential to cause unintended hydrological, morphological and environmental impacts, with further significant impacts on socio-economic development. This is not an argument that should be used to disqualify structural solutions but merely to raise awareness of the full consequences their establishment has - in support of informed decision-making.

This chapter addresses some of the environmental consequences of structural flood control and protection works such as

The chapter looks at how these options affect the environment, especially in terms of flow regime, sediment transport, water quality and biodiversity. It also explores possible options to avoid, reduce or mitigate the negative consequences. Eventually, some non-structural flood management measures are also discussed, particularly with respect to how they help in protecting the environment. The individual sub-chapters place focus on the options for mitigation of negative environmental impacts within the spatial limits of one chosen measure. This way of presentation has been chosen based on the assumption that those measures will have been determined as indispensable to implement a flood management strategy.

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