Floodplain: -A floodplain, or flood plain, is flat or nearly flat land adjacent to a stream or river

that experiences occasional or periodic flooding. It includes the floodway, which consists of the stream channel and adjacent areas that carry flood flows, and the flood fringe, which are areas covered by the flood, but which do not experience a strong current Floodplains are land areas adjacent to rivers and streams that are subject to recurring inundation. Owing to their continually changing nature, floodplains and other flood-prone areas need to be examined in the light of how they might affect or be affected by development. The primary objective of remote sensing methods for mapping flood-prone areas in developing countries is to provide planners and disaster management institutions with a practical and costeffective way to identify floodplains and other susceptible areas and to assess the extent of disaster impact.

Gathering and analyzing hydrologic data related to floodplains and flood-prone areas has been a time-consuming effort requiring extensive field observations and calculations. This traditional approach uses historical data of flood events to delineate the extent and recurrence interval of flooding. With the development of remote sensing and computer analysis techniques, now traditional sources can be supplemented with these new methods of acquiring quantitative and qualitative flood hazard information. This static approach uses indicators of flood susceptibility to assess an area's flood proneness. Both of these approaches are discussed below. Changing Nature of Floodplains Floodplains are neither static nor stable. Composed of unconsolidated sediments, they are rapidly eroded during floods and high flows of water, or they may be the site on which new layers of mud, sand, and silt are deposited. As such, the river may change its course and shift from one side of the floodplain to the other. Portrays this dynamic pattern whereby the river channel may change within the broader floodplain and the floodplain may be periodically modified by floods as the channel migrates back and forth across the it. Floodplain width is a function of the size of the stream, the rates of downcutting, the channel slope, and the hardness of the channel wall. Floodplains are uncommon in headwater channels because the stream is small, the slopes and rate of downcutting are high, and the valley walls are often exposed bedrock. In moderately small streams the floodplain is commonly found only on the inside of a bend (meander), but the location of the floodplain alternates from side to side as the stream meanders from one side of the valley to the other.

Fluvial Landforms

Within a single stream we can often recognize three different channel types. These unique channel types develop in response to changes in stream velocity, sediment texture, and stream grade. Channels located in the upper reaches of many streams tend to be narrow with flow moving at high velocities (Figure 10z-1). The high flow velocities found in these streams are the result of a steep grade and gravity. Within these stream systems, erosion is a very active process as the channel tries to adjust itself to the topography of the landscape. Deposition occurs primarily during periods of low flow. As a result, floodplain deposits are very limited, and the stream bed is very transient and shallow. Streams with high sediment loads that encounter a sudden reduction in flow velocity generally have a braided channel type . This type of stream channel often occurs further down the stream profile where the grade changes from being steep to gently sloping. In a braided stream, the main channel divides into a number of smaller, interlocking or braided channels. Braided channels tend to be wide and shallow because bedload materials are often coarse (sands and gravels) and non-cohesive. Meandering channels form where streams are flowing over a relatively flat landscape with a broad floodplain technically, a stream is said to be meandering when the ratio of actual channel length to the straight line distance between two points on the stream channel is greater than 1.5. Channels in these streams are characteristically U-shaped and actively migrate over the extensive floodplain.

Fig: Landform of alluvial river

Stream Channel Features
Within the stream channel are a variety of sedimentary beds and structures. Many of these features are dependent upon the complex interaction between stream velocity and sediment size. Streams carrying coarse sediments develop sand and gravel bars. These types of bars seen often in braided streams which are common in elevated areas. Bars develop in braided streams because

of reductions in discharge. Two conditions often cause the reduction in discharge: reduction in the gradient of the stream and/or the reduction of flow after a precipitation event or spring melting of snow and ice. Point bars develop where stream flow is locally reduced because of friction and reduced water depth . In a meanderingstream, point bars tend to be common on the inside of a channel bend.

In this straight channel stream, bars form in the regions of the stream away from the thalweg. Riffles, another type of coarse deposit, develop beneath the thalweg in locations where the faster flow moves vertically up in the channel. Between the riffles are scouredpools where material is excavated when the zone of maximum stream velocity approaches the stream's bed. The absolute spacing of these features varies with the size of the channel. However, the relative distance between one riffle and the next is on average five to seven times the width of the channel (exaggerated in diagram). Both of these features can also occur in sinuous channels. Dunes and ripples are the primary sedimentary features in streams whose channel is composed mainly of sand and silt. Dunes are about 10 or more centimeters in height and are spaced a meter or more apart. They are common in streams with higher velocities. Ripples are only a few centimeters in height and spacing, and are found in slow moving streams with fine textured beds. Both of these features move over time, migrating down stream. Material on the gently sloping stoss-side of these features rolls and jumps up the slope under the influence of water flow. Particles move up the slope until they reach the crest of the feature and then avalanche down the steeper lee-side to collect at the base of the next dune or ripple. This process is then repeated over and over again until the material reaches a location down stream where it is more permanently deposited. Depositional Feature: Alongside stream channels are relatively flat areas known as floodplains . Floodplains develop when streams over-top their levees spreading discharge and suspended sediments over the land surface during floods. Levees are ridges found along the sides of the stream channel composed of sand or gravel. Levees are approximately one half to four times the channel width in diameter. Upon retreat of the flood waters, stream velocities are reduced causing the deposition of alluvium. Repeated flood cycles over time can result in the deposition of many successive layers of alluvial material. Floodplain deposits can raise the elevation of the stream bed. This process is called aggradations. Floodplains can also contain sediments deposited from the lateral migration of the river channel. This process is common in both braided and meandering channels. Braided channels produce horizontal deposits of sand during times of reduced discharge. Inmeandering streams, channel migration leads to the vertical deposition of point bar deposits. Both braided and meandering channel deposits are more coarse than the materials laid down by flooding.

A number of other geomorphic features can be found on the floodplain. Intersecting the levees are narrow gaps called crevasses. These features allow for the movement of water to the floodplain and back during floods. Topographical depressions are found scattered about the floodplain. Depressions contain the some of the finest deposits on the floodplain because of their elevation. Oxbow lakes are the abandoned channels created when meanders are cut off from the rest of the channel because of lateral stream erosion.

Alluvial Fans and Deltas Streams flowing into standing water normally create a delta . A delta is body of sediment that contains numerous horizontal and vertical layers. Deltas are created when the sediment load carried by a stream is deposited because of a sudden reduction in stream velocity. The surface of most deltas is marked by small shifting channels that carry water and sediments away from the main river channel. These small channels also act to distribute the stream's sediment load over the surface of the delta. Some deltas, like the Nile, have a triangular shape. Streams, like the Mississippi, that have a high sediment content and empty into relatively calm waters cause the formation of a birdfoot shaped delta. Most deltas contain three different types of deposits: foreset, topset and bottomset beds. Foreset beds make up the main body of deltas. They are deposited at the outer edge of the delta at an angle of 5 to 25 degrees. Steeper angles develop in finer sediments. On top of the foreset beds are the nearly horizontal topset beds. These beds are of varying grain sizes and are formed from deposits of the small shifting channels found on thedelta surface. In front and beneath the foreset beds are the bottomset beds. These beds are composed of fine silt and clay. Bottom set beds are formed when the finest material is carried out by stream flow.

An alluvial fan is a large fan-shaped deposit of sediment on which a braided stream flows over . Alluvial fans develop when streams carrying a heavy load reduce their velocity as they emerge from mountainous terrain to a nearly horizontal plain. The fan is created as braided streams shift across the surface of this feature depositing sediment and adjusting their course. The image below shows several alluvial fans that formed because of a sudden change in elevation

Case Study: -Pilcomayo River Floodplain
Due to the recurring flooding along the Pilcomayo River in southwestern Paraguay, the Government of Paraguay requested assistance from OAS/DRDE to delineate the floodplain boundaries and hazards along the river. In this case the desired map scale was 1:500,000, but topographic maps at this scale were not available. The information was combined with desertification hazard and other natural resource information using a soils classification map as the base map.

Temporal Analysis of Changes in the Floodplain and River Channel Two temporal or time-change composites along selected reaches of the Pilcomayo River were made to serve as indicators of change in the floodplain and river channel. To observe changes in the floodplain between 1972 and 1976, a high-contrast negative at a scale of 1:1,000,000 was prepared from the low contrast band 5 positive image of the same scale. A high-contrast band 5 negative at a scale of 1:1,000,000 was also prepared from the 70mm positive transparency. The color-additive viewer is designed to hold 70mm format film, so 70mm wide strips of the selected subscene were cut from the larger film and mounted in the viewer. Although the temporal analyses do not cover the whole reach of the Pilcomayo River valley bordering the study area, they clearly demonstrate the highly dynamic nature of the floodplain and areas of sediment deposit. This indicates that there is a need for continuous monitoring of the floodplain as well as monitoring during the period of flooding for assessing the flood hazard and delineation of the flood-prone areas. The floodplain delineation and temporal analysis information was used to further assess flood hazards as part of overall project identification criteria. Floodplain and Flood-Related Changes Detected by Remote Sensing Floods, hydraulic forces, engineering structures, and development on the floodplain can and do result in physical changes in the river channel, sedimentation patterns, and flood boundaries, as discussed earlier in this chapter. It is very costly to continually update maps to accurately depict these changing conditions. Satellite imagery can provide a record of changes to complement maps and conventional point source data. Hence, up-to-date satellite imagery of the study area can be compared with previously collected data to determine changes during specific time periods. Similarly, in mapping a flood using satellite imagery, the inundated area can be compared with a map of the area under preflood conditions.

The flood often leaves its imprint or "signature" on the surface in the form of soil moisture anomalies, pounded areas, soil scours, stressed vegetation, debris lines, and other indicators of the flooded r the flood waters have receded. It should be noted that delineation of floodplains using remote sensing data cannot, by itself, be directly related to any return period. However, when it is used in conjunction with other information, the delineated floodplain can be related to an estimated or calculated event. This static method can reveal an area's flood proneness and yield information useful for a flood hazard assessment. Effects of Development Practices on Flooding and Floodplains, and the Role of Mitigation People have been lured to floodplains since ancient times, first by the rich alluvial soil, later by the need for access to water supplies, water transportation, and power development, and later still as a relegated locus for urbanization, particularly for low income families. How the land is used and developed can change the risks resulting from floods. While some activities can be designed to mitigate the effects of flooding, many current practices and structures have unwittingly increased the flood risk. In a humid climate during a major flood, a considerable part of the flow of a stream with a wide floodplain is carried by that floodplain. Clearing the floodplain for agriculture permits a progressively higher percentage of a large flood discharge to be carried by the floodplain. Some parts of the floodplain are eroded and other parts are built up by deposition of coarse sediment, while the channel capacity of the river channel is gradually reduced. Drainage and irrigation ditches, as well as water diversions, can alter the discharge into floodplains and the channel's capacity to carry the discharge. The effects of agricultural and crop practices vary and depend upon the local soils, geology, climate, vegetation, and water management practices. In many countries agriculture dominates the use of land on floodplains. Where floods are seasonal, crops may be selected that can withstand floods of short duration and low volume during the flood season. Less resistant crops may be grown in the nonflood season. Forest vegetation in general increases rainfall and evaporation while it absorbs moisture and lessens runoff. Deforestation or logging practices will reduce the vegetation and a forest's absorption capacity, thus increasing runoff. Overgrazing in grassland or rangeland areas decreases the vegetation cover and exposes soil to erosion as well as increased runoff. Cropland development may or may not increase runoff, depending on the land's prior use and the type of cropping patterns utilized. Large dams affect the river channel both upstream and downstream from the dam and reservoir. Evaporation increases as a result of the expanded surface area of the reservoir, and this process tends to degrade the water quality. The reservoir acts as a sediment trap and the channel below the dam will regrade itself to accommodate the change in sediment load, as shown in Figure 8-4. The water, now with little sediment, scours the downstream channel.

Dams may also increase ground-water recharge. They may raise the water table and even induce ground-water discharge into adjacent channels, thereby modifying stream discharge rates. Catastrophic dam failure produces a rapid loss of water from the reservoir and an instantaneously severe and dramatic change downstream. Urbanization of a floodplain or adjacent areas and its attendant construction increases runoff and the rate of runoff because it reduces the amount of surface land area available to absorb rainfall and channels its flow into sewers and drainage ways much more quickly. Changes in the runoff are shown symbolically where the runoff time is shortened and the discharge rate increases. Artificial fill in the floodplain reduces the flood channel capacity and can increase the flood height. Thus, the risk of flooding is increased.

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