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SciCafe: Restoring Lateral Connectivity in the Apalachicola River Floodplain: An Adaptive Management Approach

December 15, 2022 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

G Matt Kondolf, professor at University of California Berkeley
Along most US rivers, floodplains have been cut off from their rivers by dikes, but the Apalachicola River is flanked by a largely intact forested floodplain, supporting biodiversity and ecosystem productivity. The river’s 400-mi long network of sloughs formerly supported important populations of juvenile fish and other organisms and provided terrestrially sourced nutrients to the Bay. An ill-conceived program of navigational dredging in the second half of the 20th century disrupted formerly stable riverbed and banks, suspending large quantities of sand, some of which deposited in sloughs, forming bars that now block flow of water. As the river has stabilized in the 20 years since dredging stopped, the Apalachicola Riverkeeper is implementing three pilot projects to remove dredging-related sand deposits and clear trees recently downed by Hurricane Michael, to reopen sloughs to water circulation. Testing the conceptual model that reopened sloughs will have sufficient water velocity to self-maintain (as they no longer receive unnaturally large influxes of sand), the pilot projects are carefully monitored. If successful, the approach may be applicable to other sloughs in the system. To register for the virtual workshop, go to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2087346286683675403. You will receive a link after you register.