Historical development and integrated management of the Rhône river floodplain, from the Alps to the Camargue delta, France
Type de la ressource : Chapitres
Date : 2015-00-00
Description : The Rhône is a large river of Western industrialized Europe and flows southerly from the Furka Glacier of the Swiss Alps to the Mediterranean Sea. The valley and the alluvial plain represent a complex history of fluvial change that started during the last deglaciation. Climate and land-use changes modified the balance of discharge and sediment, creating a diversity of fluvial patterns and floodplain landforms. The human perspective on Rhône River floodplains includes one of the communities threatened by floods during periods of low frequency high magnitude events, and channel and floodplain adjustment. Floodplain settlements coped with a constant risk from high-velocity floods, which were competent to cause destruction to property and agricultural lands. The complex history of floodplain construction and flood defence accounts for a maximum diversity of local to regional floodplain settings. The modern development of the river has been undertaken to improve navigation, but has also impacted the Rhône River. The river metamorphosed from a braided to a sinuous single channel pattern, with consequent changes in the environment. The “improved” type of embanked floodplain promoted heavy overbank sedimentation. A second generation of human disturbance resulted from the construction of reservoirs, canals and power plants with a lasting legacy of specific fluvial impacts. Recent restoration and management actions include the reactivation of channel side arms and the removal of lateral embankments to widen the channel where it is by-passed a canal. Inherited local conditions are shown to be of major importance to modern restoration practices.
Pages : 289-320