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Abstract: Session E  3:50 pm (Back to Session E)
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Floodplain Reconnection in the Urban Landscape

Austin E. Byers
Century Engineering, Inc.
Hunt Valley, MD

The use of innovative and comprehensive design approaches that artificially establish sustainable channel and valley boundary conditions through floodplain reconnection can dramatically reduce or eliminate long-term risks while working within the urban landscape. With a growing number of high frequency high magnitude storm events of record, it is imperative that stream restoration designs focus on establishing both sustainable channel and valley conditions across a wide range of storm events. While rural sites often provide ample opportunity to do so, urban corridors made up of narrow greenways, parks, and drainage easements pose significant challenges, with both vertical and lateral constraints. Anthropogenic encroachments on the historically available floodplain width, coupled with increased peak discharges as result of changes in land use, have yielded a multitude of high energy degraded stream systems in urbanized areas throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. While this land is often publicly owned and in high priority for restoration, designing and constructing stream restoration projects within these challenging urban areas can pose significant risk. Design techniques and project examples will be highlighted to demonstrate how floodplain reconnection projects can be implemented in the urban landscape to meet a range of client goals.