Sustainable floodplain management is essential in achieving a balance between population growth and natural resource protection, especially in the face of climate change. While floodplain development in the Middle Rio Grande Valley has allowed for economic expansion in the region, it has come at a cost to the fragile ecosystem of the Southwest. In this study, the historical Albuquerque reach of the Middle Rio Grande is reconstructed, including floodplain topography, channel characteristics, and land cover from approximately 1918. The impacts of river engineering on flooding events are evaluated by comparing historic and current conditions. Hydrodynamic modeling is first used to quantify the effects, then results are analyzed by calculating inundated area and visualized with inundation mapping. Model results show a decrease in inundated area, accompanied by a rise in flood stage. This has implications for both sides of the human-environment interface and identifies the need for rebuilding system resiliency and restoring connectivity.
Middle Rio Grande, river engineering, hydrodynamic modeling, historical reconstruction, inundation mapping
National Science Foundation
Level of Degree
First Committee Member (Chair)
Second Committee Member
Adair, Jourdan. "Reconstructing the historical Albuquerque reach of the Middle Rio Grande to evaluate the influence of river engineering on floodplain inundation." (2016). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/ce_etds/121