Confluence Principal, Jim Lovell will be speaking at the WALPHY symposium in Belgium this October. Jim’s presentation will explore the trade-off between minimizing risk and maximizing ecological gain. He will also discuss how decisions concerning risk effect short and long-term costs and public perceptions of project success.

The following is an excerpt from Jim’s presentation:

The level of risk and environmental benefit one is willing to accept is always negotiable. Negotiating risk and environmental benefit affects every aspect of project development and execution; from establishing goals, to developing design criteria, selecting construction methods and materials, and evaluating success after the project is completed.

Healthy rivers and floodplains are spatially and temporally dynamic, disturbance-driven ecosystems. Riverine plant and animal communities are adapted to this natural regime of change. Historic management of river systems (e.g. dams, flood levees, bank revetment, channelization, agricultural and urban development) has typically been aimed at reducing, managing, or otherwise controlling river dynamics and disturbance. This has resulted in reductions to the environmental benefits supported by healthy rivers, such as species diversity and physical, chemical, and biological processes. Successful restoration of natural, self-sustaining, and ecologically diverse river ecosystems must, therefore, include restoration of river dynamics and disturbance regimes that support these desired environmental benefits. However, this also increases the level of risk associated with restoration projects. Risks may include property damage, personal injury, or negative environmental consequences. Restoration success relies on the degree to which we accept, manage, and balance these risks with the desired outcome of maximizing environmental benefits of healthy rivers.

For more information on WALPHY, go to:

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