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Channelized Rivers: Perspectives for Environmental Management.

Rivers, Resources, and Channelization Projects

Rivers have been modified-straightened, diked, dredged, etc.for many decades, and controversy over the processes has probably existed almost as long. Certainly there are a wide range of environmental impacts associated with it, particularly on the fisheries. Dealing with these issues is "Channelized Rivers, Perspectives for Environmental Management," by Andrew Brookes, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158. The author is a Reading, U.K., environmental consultant and he utilizes case studies from both U.S. and U.K. projects to illustrate his points.

Rivers have been channelized for many reasons, including flood control, land drainage, navigation, erosion control or prevention, and the like, but rarely, it seems, for fisheries enhancement. Here, the author reviews information from a variety of disciplines to illustrate various factors involved in the stability of natural river channels and how one might anticipate the consequences of a decision to modify a channel. Recovery of aquatic populations in modified channels often depends upon adjustments or alterations of the channel morphology, he notes, and he also discusses how geomorphology is used to develop alternative designs and strategies to minimize the impact on natural resources.

The author provides an overview of the needs and problems in channelization, and the methods and limitations of conventional engineering design. Legislation has altered some approaches to channelization and these are discussed in chapter 3.

Physical and biological impacts of channelization are covered in the third section, including data on impacts on fish and fisheries from studies in various nations, and the effects on riparian and wetland ecosystems, etc. Another chapter relates consequences downstream and well beyond the bounds of the channelization project. Another section lists many recommendations regarding revised construction procedures, as well as techniques for mitigation, enhancement, and restoration of aquatic ecosystems. A "postscript and prospects" section describes continued pressures for floodplain development, the increasing roles for environmental scientists, impact assessment, management measures, etc. The book seems more oriented to the engineering profession, but environmental assessment personnel who have to deal with the consequences of channelization projects may also find it useful. Hardbound and with author, geographical and subject indexes and a lengthy list of references, the volume costs $79.95.
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Publication:Marine Fisheries Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 1989
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