Archive for June, 2013

Dr. Andrew Simon pulls together an excellent set of ideas in this presentation:


For several years, I’ve struggled with the idea of a reference stream. He lays out some of the problems with the approach.  I like how he introduces the idea of a hydrologic floodplain and a topographic floodplain.  I also like how he highlights the notion that “bankfull” discharge applies to a stable channel.

One of the best questions he asks is: “How does the channel respond?” Answer: “It depends”  The figure below was pulled from Janet Hooke’s 2003 Geomorphology article titled “Coarse sediment connectivity in river channel systems: a conceptual framework methodology”  I think the image does a good job of supporting Dr. Simons’ question about how a channel would respond. Clearly the spatial variability that all rivers have dictate that a thorough inspection of a site and its context within a watershed is warranted.


I also always like a presentation that goes back and explicitly states first principals in geomorphology:

Applied (Driving) Forces vs. Resisting Forces.

I was first exposed to this idea as an undergraduate at Middlebury College in the early 1990’s thanks to my advisor Jack Schmidt and it is still true as it ever was today.

I like the way Mr. Simon thinks and presents his ideas. Keeping these ideas in mind the next time a restoration project comes along would be excellent, especially at the early stages so that that all parties can better understand the river adjustment dynamics at a project site.


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Two water related organizations are planning conferences in Hartford, CT in June 2013.

The Association of State Floodplain Managers has scheduled its annual conference for June 9-14.  My former employer, Milone & MacBroom, will be participating in the conference has terrific and knowledgeable staff that will be engaged in the following events:
Monday, June 10

WORKSHOP: Recovering From Large Floods, 8:00 AM to Noon

James MacBroom, P.E., and Roy Schiff, P.E., Ph.D., will lead a dynamic workshop focusing on post-flood assessment, design, and construction using specific examples from our work in Vermont and New York during the 2011 and 2012 hurricane seasons. In addition to short lectures, interactive activities will be conducted to help attendees gain experience in identifying risks and strategizing flood recovery efforts.

FIELD TOUR: Coastal Connecticut, 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Join David Murphy, P.E., CFM, for a tour of neighborhoods in Guilford facing problems relating to sea level rise and recent storm surges that are each pursuing different methods of adaptation. The tour will continue to Madison with a stop at the state’s premier Hammonasset Beach.

Tuesday, June 11

CONCURRENT SESSION: Building a Community Coastal Resilience Plan in Guilford, Connecticut, 1:45 PM

David Murphy, P.E., CFM, will assist the Town of Guilford in discussing the town’s community coastal resilience planning efforts and the results, including adaptation strategies that are already being implemented.

Wednesday, June 12

FIELD TOUR: Coastal Connecticut, 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM

The coastal tour from June 10 repeats on June 12.

CONCURRENT SESSION: Soliciting, Screening and Selecting Mitigation Projects Part II: When the Process is Repeated After a Disaster, 1:30 PM

David Murphy, P.E., CFM, will share his experience in evaluating and prioritizing competing hazard mitigation projects that were developed in Western Massachusetts following the floods of Hurricane Irene.

Thursday, June 13

CONCURRENT SESSION: Two Floodplain Restoration Case Studies, 10:30 AM

Roy Schiff, P.E., Ph.D., will discuss two floodplain restoration projects he completed in Vermont.

CONCURRENT SESSION: Flood Mitigation and Economic Development: Meriden’s Journey to the 21st Century, 4:00 PM

Nicolle Burnham, P.E., CFM, and the City of Meriden will present the Harbor Brook Flood Control and Mitigation project, which includes three miles of channel improvements and daylighting 1,700 feet of culverted channel through the city’s downtown.

The other conference being held in Hartford is sponsored by the American Water Resources Association which is organizing a specialty conference on environmental flows.

I won’t be able to attend either event. I have taken the approach of directly contacting presenters. It’s usually pretty easy to obtain a presenter’s email address, I then ask them for their PowerPoint poster or slides, sometimes there is an associated paper, and almost without exception, I have been able to receive the information I requested. Generally speaking, presenters seem to be happy when someone shows interest in their work and are asking for follow up information.

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