Concurrent Session: Floodplain restoration in FEMA-regulated mapped floodplains
3:20 PM - 4:40 PM Wed
CO-AUTHORS: Mary Jo Gingras, Ashland County; Stacy Dehne, WI Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection; Troy Maggied, SW WI Regional Planning Commission
TITLE: Restoring floodplains in rural communities: Opportunities and challenges
ABSTRACT: Healthy floodplains store and slow the flow of floodwaters, but their restoration can be complex, time-consuming, and cost-prohibitive. This talk will provide basic information about floodplain functions and will highlight insights and lessons learned from the design phase of a natural flood management demonstration in Ashland County, WI. Using a proposed floodplain reconnection project within a mapped FEMA floodplain of a tributary to the Marengo River Watershed as an example, I will cover: 1) characteristics of highly connected floodplains and the importance of revitalizing floodplain functions on large landscape scales; 2) how floodplain restoration can recover self-sustaining hydrologic conditions, connections, and functions; 3) why rural and tribal communities are critical for finding and accelerating upstream solutions to flood risks and vulnerable infrastructure; and, 4) the difficulties and disadvantages these communities face when trying to plan, secure, and/or implement funding for floodplain reconnection work. The presentation will help set the stage for an interactive discussion on opportunities to increase investments in floodplain restoration as a risk reduction and infrastructure management strategy for county, municipal, and tribal governments.
BIO: Kyle Magyera leads the Natural Flood Management Initiatives in Wisconsin’s Lake Superior basin for Wisconsin Wetlands Association (WWA). He has Master’s degrees in Urban and Regional Planning and Water Resources Management from UW-Madison and more than ten years of experience working on wetland conservation and water policy issues with WWA and the Wisconsin DNR.