Stop the flooding

  • The Willamette River at flood stage, Feb. 9, 1996

    Kevin G. Coulton
  The devastating floods that swamped Oregon early this year could be reduced in the future by restoring former wetlands and woodlands in the Willamette River floodplain. That's the conclusion of a study commissioned by River Network, a Portland, Oregon-based conservation group. The 60-page study, written primarily by Kevin Coulton of Philip Williams & Associates, an engineering firm, was completed just as flood waters were inundating communities on the Willamette River and its tributaries. The study warns that alteration of the natural floodplain for farmland and development during the last century has dramatically reduced the river's capacity to contain periodic overflows. It also says flood risks are increasing in the Willamette Valley. An Evaluation of Flood Management Benefits through Floodplain Restoration on the Willamette River, U.S.A. costs $5; contact Jean Hamilla at the River Network, 503/241-3506.

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