Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2018WV239B

Modeling Flood Risk Potential in WV

Institute: West Virginia
Year Established: 2018 Start Date: 2018-03-01 End Date: 2019-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $16,938 Total Non-Federal Funds: $33,885

Principal Investigators: Michael Strager, Nicolas Zegre

Abstract: This project proposal is a response to the requested area of emphasis: climate change impacts on water resources – watershed management to reduce flooding. Flooding potential in West Virginia and the Appalachian region is predicted to increase due to more frequent and intense storm events. Many government officials, developers, planners, and home owners are interested in improved flood potential modeling to help determine where it is safe to build or live. If this information is not available or inadequate (for example, if flood maps are out-dated) then consequences of floods can put communities at risk. Our goal is to better identify areas of high flooding risk in order to better manage watersheds and reduce property damage. We propose to provide flood risk modeling for two watersheds in WV (the Greenbrier and Elk River) that will also help the greater Appalachian region understand the importance of landscape characteristics for future flood planning. Using a combination of site specific high resolution datasets, we will map the locations in the Greenbrier and Elk River watersheds that are more susceptible to flooding. In addition, we will apply a ranking and prioritization approach to identify the most critical areas in the watershed that can aid in restoration and protection to decrease future flood impacts. Our work will combine site specific criteria variables at a high spatial and temporal resolution with regional prioritization. Working concurrently at these two scales is innovative to flood management and can provide a framework to be applied across Appalachia. This work will contribute to the understanding of the morphology, ecology and land use of watersheds that could be used to reduce runoff and downstream flood risk.