Feb 04 2013

A Few Good Reads (2/4/13): Devastating Floods in Mozambique and Australia

This week: Flooding leaves 68 dead in Mozambique as the Limpopo River overflows, more flooding in Queensland as helicopters rescue more than a 1,000 people and some crazy sea foam from the storm, rebuilding in hurricane zones as conditions potentially worsen, and some great dos and don’ts of restoration.

The worst flooding in over a decade in Mozambique has killed nearly 70 people as a fresh deluge in the north took its toll, the United Nations said Friday.

“Based on government figures received today, the number of deaths since January 12 is 68,” U.N. spokeswoman Patricia Nakell told Agence France Presse.

In Queensland, helicopters rescued more than 1,000 people stranded in the city of Bundaberg as the Burnett River burst its banks, flooding 2,000 homes.

In New South Wales, Grafton escaped the worst of the flooding as the Clarence River peaked below the city’s levees.

ROCKAWAYS, N.Y. The destruction wreaked by Superstorm Sandy may become more common as weather worsens. Photo: Spencer Platt, Getty Images

Is rebuilding in hurricane zones wise? (San Francisco Chronicle)

But Sandy is the future, climate scientists said. As carbon dioxide emissions blast past worst-case scenarios, rising sea levels and storm surges will reshape every U.S. coastline, from San Francisco to Houston to New York. It is only beginning to dawn on Americans, half of whom live on the coasts, that their future is a battle against the sea.

In the impulse to rebuild from Sandy, much of it financed by the federal government, big questions need to be answered. What to protect, and how? Where to retreat? Where to stand fast?

River Restoration Part 1 and Part 2: What You Should Do/What You Shouldn’t Do (Geography and Environment Postgraduate Blog)

DO set clear, achievable aims and objectives: Think about the specific forms and processes you wish to create. Are you hoping to improve spawning habitat for salmonids, and hence require gravel-bed substrate and fast flows, or do you want to attract wading birds and hence require the creation of an offline backwater that’s periodically inundated? Although a generic aim of ‘increasing biodiversity’ or ‘enhancing habitat heterogeneity’ is both commendable and desirable, it is easiest achieved using specific objectives…

DON’T apply generic techniques: Every river system is different but more than that every river is different. Initially you have to establish what type of river you’re dealing with: is it groundwater-dominated or runoff-dominated; high-energy or low-energy; alluvial or bedrock? Then you have to get the local story: is the river over-abstracted? Are there surface runoff pressures? Does the river perform a function for society (e.g. flood defence)? The most appropriate techniques for restoration will be effected by these considerations.

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