Report on managing river corridors of Central Pennsylvania in an economically and ecologically sustainable manner. Fluvial geomorphologists and civil engineers from Bucknell University present results of research and analysis of the impact of floods on Central Pennsylvania streams, bridges, dams, and roads. Ten sections cover 1. Key Concepts for Managing River Corridors in a Sustainable Manner; 2. Options for Managing the Conflict between Nature and Man; 3. The Physical Imperatives of River Systems; 4. Dynamic Equilibrium of Streams and Anticipating Adjustments in the Future; 5. The Conflict: Today’s Accounting; 6. Cost-Benefit Analysis; 7. Short vs. Long Term Solutions: A Choice of Management Scenarios; 8. “Stream-Cleaning” – allow gravel or “do nothing”? 9. Informing the Alternative Selection Process; 10. Managing Sustainably.
The report focuses on the long term benefits of a geomorphic corridor management approach which can benefit both property owners and riparian ecosystems. The largest challenge is not in conducting the scientific analyses to determine the river’s slope and planform requirements, but rather in how to redefine the relationship of public and private investments with fluvial dynamics in an equitable manner over time within a watershed.
The larger short term costs associated with using a geomorphic-based approach, where land conversion is necessary, become more acceptable and economically justifiable where channelization projects have failed repeatedly or in post flood remediation where major erosion, property damage, and channel avulsions have occurred. A passive geomorphic approach may be the most desirable alternative due to its lower maintenance costs but is highly dependent upon landowners willing to accept what may be significant changes in land use expectations. Concluding recommendations exhort State and Federal agencies involved with river resource management to work together to provide economic incentives and technical assistance for towns and landowners to make decisions that resolve immediate conflicts with the long term watershed solutions in mind.
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Geology & Environmental Geosciences