Hamilton, S. K. Michigan State University, hamilton@kbs.msu.edu

 
POTENTIAL EFFECTS OF A MAJOR NAVIGATION PROJECT (THE PARAGUAY-PARANA HIDROVIA) ON INUNDATION IN THE PANTANAL FLOODPLAINS
 
Seasonal flooding in the Pantanal wetland of Brazil, one of the world's largest floodplains, sustains spectacular populations of wildlife, productive fisheries, and abundant natural pasture for cattle. A proposed navigation project known as the Parana-Paraguay Waterway or "Hidrovia" would entail significant alterations of river channels within the Pantanal, which could in turn alter the flooding of adjacent floodplains. Satellite observations of passive microwave emission (SMMR; 37 GHz) were analyzed to reveal flooding patterns in the various subregions of the Pantanal. This remote sensing information was combined with river stage records to predict how much the extent and duration of inundation on the floodplains may be reduced by decreased river levels that could potentially result from channel dredging and straightening. The results demonstrate that large losses of flooded area are possible with seemingly small decreases in river levels (e.g., by 10-50 cm). These losses are most significant during the dry season, when the relatively small areas of flooding that normally persist and serve as critical refuges for animals dependent on aquatic environments are eliminated in some subregions. Any proposed alterations of the river channels should be carefully scrutinized for their potential effects on adjacent floodplain ecosystems.
 
Day: Monday, Feb. 1
Time: 04:30 - 04:45pm
Location: Hilton of Santa Fe
 
Code: SS47MO0430H