Research Webinar: Tools to Balance Objectives for Restoration and Conservation of Floodplains in the Lake Champlain Basin

Wednesday, January 25, 2023 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Online — Registration required

View a recording of the webinar.

Speakers: Rebecca Diehl and Kristen Underwood, University of Vermont

Healthy floodplains and wetlands offer numerous co-benefits, including flood resiliency, nutrient storage, and habitat provisioning. Accordingly, river managers are increasingly focused on conserving well-functioning floodplains and restoring land areas where floodplain connection has been lost through historic land manipulations. However, conserving or restoring floodplains has financial and opportunity costs, and decision-makers can sometimes hold competing objectives for management of riverside lands.  

In this talk, we introduce decision-support tools for evaluating the multiple, and sometimes incompatible, objectives of different decision-makers for management of floodplains. These tools, developed with Sea Grant support, aim to balance stakeholder objectives and refine the rankings of restoration projects developed under Vermont’s Functioning Floodplain Initiative. Because phosphorus attenuation is a critical objective amongst most stakeholders to meet clean water goals for Lake Champlain, research on the capacity of connected floodplains to capture flood-borne phosphorus is also described. These tools were designed to support a systems-based management approach that best meets multiple stakeholder objectives to promote consensus decision making and cost-effective implementation of nature-based solutions.   

Kristen is a Research Assistant Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department. She has more than three decades of academic and professional experience in water resources, bridging the fields of aquatic ecology, fluvial geomorphology, hydrogeology and environmental engineering. Her current research involves the application of advanced computational tools to better understand and model river systems for improved management and sustainability.

Rebecca is a Research Assistant Professor in the Geography and Geosciences Department. She is a fluvial geomorphologist interested in documenting the processes that shape rivers and their floodplains and determine their functioning. Her work is motivated by the need for good science to support a greater reliance on natural infrastructure.  She earned her PhD from Utah State University and loves to study, splash in, and float on most rivers.     

Participants should expect approximately 30 minutes of presentation, which will be recorded, followed by a facilitated, 30-minute Q&A period. This webinar is a part of the Lake Champlain Sea Grant Research Webinar Series.


To request a disability-related accommodation to participate in any of these programs, please contact Lake Champlain Sea Grant / Julianna White at 802-777-7017 or seagrant [at] no later than three weeks before your chosen date so we can assist you.

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