Year: 2019

Adaptive Management for an International River Basin: The Future of the Columbia River Treaty

Thursday May 9, 2019

223 Moses Hall, UC Berkeley

>>Program

The Columbia River Treaty between the US and Canada has been recognized as an innovative example of the bi-national management of the water resources of an international river. However, when the Treaty was ratified in 1964, it did not adequately consider the rights and responsibilities of tribes and First Nations or local residents, ecological functions such as fish and fish habitat, instream flow needs, river processes and ecology, etc. Additionally, the treaty did not address issues such as water requirements for municipal, industrial and agricultural uses, river transport and recreation, water quality, or potential changes in runoff characteristics and water temperature as a result of climate change. The United States and Canada are currently renegotiating the Columbia River Treaty and incorporating ecosystem function into the agreement, which was originally designed for hydropower generation and flood control, is a central theme. Both parties agree that an adaptive management framework will be critical to achieving these multiple objectives and treaty renegotiations are widely seen as providing an opportunity to modernize the treaty by including consideration of the above issues.

The Canadian Studies Program and Riverlab will host a workshop on incorporating adaptive management (AM) into a modernized Columbia River Treaty.   From 9am to 6pm on May 9, the university community is invited to join scientists, policy experts, and representatives of First Nations and Tribes from Canada and the US as they present and discuss principles of adaptive management, successful precedents, and consider issues of legal perspectives, climate change, and power management relevant to revising the 55-year old treaty.

 

New study: Estimating the benefits of widespread floodplain reconnection for Columbia River Chinook salmon
We are excited about a recent study co-authored by RiverLab masters student Tyler Nodine, which was recently published by the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences!
Using a combination of remote sensing and machine learning algorithms, the study estimates the potential benefit of floodplain reconnection throughout the Columbia River Basin (CBR) to Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) parr. The study found that connected floodplain width was the most important factor for determining side channel presence, and estimated a 26% decrease in side channel habitat area from historical conditions. Reconnection of historical floodplains currently used for agriculture could increase side channel habitat by 25% and spring Chinook salmon parr total rearing capacity by 9% over current estimates.
This publication came out of the Tyler’s work at NOAA at the Northwest Science Center. The paper is  can be downloaded directly here.
Bond, M. H., Nodine, T. G., Beechie, T. J., & Zabel, R. W. (2018). Estimating the benefits of widespread floodplain reconnection for Columbia River Chinook salmon. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfas-2018-0108
Could the Anthropocene Be an “Urbanocene”?

Michel Lussault, University of Lyon

Monday 22 April 4-530pm, 315A Wurster Hall

 

A 2004 publication of the IGBP (Global Change and the Earth System) postulated that the Anthropocene really began with what was called “the great acceleration” of the 1950s, based on a clear break in the evolution of societies and the economy, and in the functioning of the earth system.  Lussault argues that this break was linked to the start of massive urbanization of the planet. The Anthropocene would thus be an “urbanocene”, that is to say, a spectacular evolution of the earth system, with urbanization as a primary driver.  The seminar is sponsored by the UC Berkeley Global Metropolitan Studies Program and co-sponsored by the Institute of International Studies interdisciplinary faculty seminar Water Management: Past and Future Adaptation.

 

Michel Lussault is a  geographer and professor of urban global studies at the University of Lyon, (Ecole Normale Supérieure), France. A well-known specialist in urban studies and theoretical geography, he has published many books and scientific papers, and given lectures in universities throughout France and elsewhere. Since 2005 his research has centered on global urbanization as a new “milieu” for people, issues of urban vulnerability, “spatial care” as a framework for understanding global change adaptation, and the urban anthropocene.  He received an 8-year grant from the French National Program “Investments For Future” to create a new intensive and elite scientific and graduation program, Lyon School of Urban Anthropocene Studies (https://ecoleurbainedelyon.universite-lyon.fr).

SF EPA hiring scientists and engineers

San Francisco Environmental Protection Agency is hiring an Environmental Engineer/Physical Scientist, an Environmental Protection Specialist, and a Life Scientist/Environmental Engineer/Physical Scientist. See details in job postings here.

Summer Internship Flood Control & Integrated Planning

Alameda County Flood Control Zone 7 is seeking applications for 2 summer internship positions to work on topics in Flood Control and Integrated Planning. Note that the job title is “Engineer Intern” but you don’t actually need an engineering degree, nor be an engineering student in order to qualify as long as there is relevant coursework (such as LA122). They have had good experience with environmental science majors in the past.  See the job annct here.

Conflicting Greens around Korean Rivers and Tidal Flats: Implications for Systematic Water and Coastal Management

Yekang Ko, University of Oregon

Monday 11 February 2019, 2-330 pm, Rm 315A Wurster Hall

 

Boosting the green economy is a goal for many nations in the era of climate change, and a number of green policies have been bursting around the world in the last decade. The efforts of South Korea include the world’s largest tidal power generation along the west coast, a new green city incorporating sustainable urban design principles, and a nationwide river restoration program. These green initiatives have been widely touted by international organizations and the media as “Green New Deals” or have received a major urban design award. In spite of this recognition, these efforts have been highly controversial and severely criticized by many scholars, environmental groups, and the public because of their substantial ecological impacts, particularly on endangered wildlife habitats and internationally recognized wetlands that host tens of thousands of migratory birds.

 

Ko critically reviews three cases of green initiatives in South Korea: tidal power plants plans, Songdo International City, and the Four Major Rivers Restoration Project that have been pursued since 2008, focusing on lessons learned from the past decade, on-going issues, and new policy directions in water and coastal management. Given the urgency of climate change, the conflicts among different “green” approaches are expected to increasingly occur around the world. Ko points out the implications for wise decision-making and planning in comparable cases.

 

Yekang Ko is an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Oregon where she teaches urban sustainability, energy landscapes, and landscape planning analysis. She obtained her Ph.D. in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning from UC Berkeley in 2012. Her research focuses on urban energy planning, green infrastructure assessment, and physical planning and design for climate change mitigation and adaptation, with a geographic focus on the Asia-Pacific region. She is the BLA program director and the Director of the Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Hub of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU).

 

This seminar is part of the interdisciplinary faculty seminar series, Water Management: Past and Future Adaptation, presented under the auspices of the UC Berkeley Institute of International Studies.  As both the developed and developing world confront intensifying demands on rivers and other water resources, impacts are evident from extractions of water for human uses, proliferation of dams, mining sediments from river beds, and intensified land-use impacts, all exacerbated by climate change. Accelerated erosion of coasts and deltas (e.g., from sediment starvation, groundwater pumping, accelerated sea-level rise) are among the manifestations of these impacts. Our seminar takes an interdisciplinary approach these challenges by examining how societies have adapted to variability in the past (uncertainty in water supply, flood risk, etc) and considers the tools we have to manage future variability in river flows and sediment loads, including variability in water supplies, increased flood risk, and the existential threat to many coastal and riverine areas.

Dams, Sediment Discontinuity, and Management Responses in Mediterranean River Basins: Report from Conference at ENS Lyon, October 2018

River basin management has mostly concerned management of water resources, with relatively little attention paid to the sediment continuity essential to maintain downstream channel functions and coastal features.  The sediment loads of most major rivers have decreased in recent decades – as a result of extensive trapping of sediment by dams, increasingly manifest in accelerated coastal erosion and loss of delta lands.

This conference examined three large rivers in southern Europe: the Rhône, Ebro, and Po.  All have headwaters in high mountain ranges and traverse Mediterranean-climate dominated basins.  All three have experienced afforestation of their mountainous headwaters since the 19th century, which has reduced erosion rates and sediment supply to the river system.  All three have been extensively modified and impounded for irrigation water supply, hydroelectric production, flood control, and navigation, mined for production of construction aggregate, and otherwise altered for human uses, and all three evince erosion and subsidence of sediment-deprived deltas.

For each river, speakers reported on sediment discontinuity and sediment management from both geomorphic and environmental history perspectives (see programme below). One intervention, a social science perspective on sediment in the Rhône, was in the form of a half-hour video, which is available as indicated below.  In discussion, speakers and participants from the audience drew comparisons among the three river basins, noting similarities and differences.  There was broad agreement among participants that the topic as framed by the conference merits further exploration.

The conference was hosted by the Collegium – Lyon Institute of Advanced Studies and the CNRS Laboratory UMR 5600 Environnement Ville Société, and co-sponsored by the Agence Francaise de la Biodiversité, Eléctricité de France, and Companie Nationale du Rhône, in collaboration GRAIE and the Agence de l’Eau Rhône-Méditerranée-Corse.  The conference was coordinated with a broader research effort initiated by Professor G Mathias Kondolf (UC Berkeley) and Asst Professor Giacomo Parrinello (Sciences Po), The Social Life of the Sediment Balance: A Social and Geomorphic Approach to the Transformation of River Systems and Deltas, supported by the France-Berkeley Fund and a UC Berkeley Social Science Matrix-Sciences Po collaboration grant.  A follow-up workshop looking at the issues of sediment management at a river basin scale more broadly is planned for May 2019.

 

 

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Flood management for a trans-boundary river from North to South Korea

Jaeeung Yi, Ajou University, Korea

Friday 25 January 2019, 11-12h30, Moses Hall 223

The Imjin River flows from North to South Korea, with 63 percent of its basin in the North. North Korea constructed several reservoirs in the upper Imjin River and released high flows downstream several times without warning South Korea, causing massive damage four times since 1996. The ongoing political tensions between South and North Korea makes it difficult to control floods in the Imjin River altogether. South Korea built the Gunnam flood control reservoir on the lower Imjin River (2013) and the Hantan River flood control dam on a tributary (2016), but these have been insufficient to control floods in the lower Imjin River. Improved measurement and modeling of flows into Gunnam reservoir allows us to develop reservoir operation policies to maximize the flood control benefits of two flood control reservoirs.

Jaeeung Yi is a professor at the department of civil engineering in Ajou University, Korea and he is currently a visiting scholar at the Department of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning, UC. Berkeley. His main study area is hydrology and water resources system management.

This seminar is part of the interdisciplinary faculty seminar series, Water Management: Past and Future Adaptation, presented under the auspices of the UC Berkeley Institute of International Studies.  As both the developed and developing world confront intensifying demands on rivers and other water resources, impacts are evident from extractions of water for human uses, proliferation of dams, mining sediments from river beds, and intensified land-use impacts, all exacerbated by climate change. Accelerated erosion of coasts and deltas (e.g., from sediment starvation, groundwater pumping, accelerated sea-level rise) are among the manifestations of these impacts. Our seminar takes an interdisciplinary approach these challenges by examining how societies have adapted to variability in the past (uncertainty in water supply, flood risk, etc) and considers the tools we have to manage future variability in river flows and sediment loads, including variability in water supplies, increased flood risk, and the existential threat to many coastal and riverine areas.