A Conflict between Traditional Flood Measures and Maintaining River Ecosystems? A Case Study Based Upon the River Lærdal, Norway
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionWater. 2021, 13 (14), . https://doi.org/10.3390/w13141884
Floods are among the most damaging of natural disasters, and flood events are expected to increase in magnitude and frequency with the effects of climate change and changes in land use. As a consequence, much focus has been placed on the engineering of structural flood mitigation measures in rivers. Traditional flood protection measures, such as levees and dredging of the river channel, threaten floodplains and river ecosystems, but during the last decade, sustainable reconciliation of freshwater ecosystems has increased. However, we still find many areas where these traditional measures are proposed, and it is challenging to find tools for evaluation of different measures and quantification of the possible impacts. In this paper, we focus on the river Lærdal in Norway to (i) present the dilemma between traditional flood measures and maintaining river ecosystems and (ii) quantify the efficiency and impact of different solutions based on 2D hydraulic models, remote sensing data, economics, and landscape metrics. Our results show that flood measures may be in serious conflict with environmental protection and legislation to preserve biodiversity and key nature types.