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About the Project

As climate change increases the severity and cost of natural disasters, flood-prone areas are looking to conservation-based solutions (Brody, 2013; Kousky & Walls, 2014).  We want to build on the methods used by Calil et. al. (2015) paper to overaly flood exposure index (FEI) and conservation priority index (CPI) to determine lands that meet both criteria and could be identified as prime candidates for flood mitigation through open-space conservation. This will be a useful lens in a Canadian context.

To take this work further, we want to compare these “ideal” conservation/flood mitigation sites with three to ten parks or protected areas that already represent flood-prone watersheds upstream of major centres (headwaters, reservoirs, or drainage basins), i.e. parks that have both high FEI and CPI.  Ideally these will be places with past examples of flood events which can be evaluated for economic and social impacts. Our intention is to quantify the park or protected area’s natural capital (and human-built infrastructure, if applicable) on the impact of related floods as a way to validate the modelling and recommend optimization of existing protected areas, not just creation of new ones.

Calil J, Beck MW, Gleason M, Merrifield M, Klausmeyer K, et al. (2015) Aligning Natural Resource Conservation and Flood Hazard Mitigation in California. PLOS ONE 10(7): e0132651.

Carolyn Kousky, Margaret Walls. (2014) Floodplain conservation as a flood mitigation strategy: Examining costs and benefits, Ecological Economics, Volume 104, Pages 119-128, ISSN 0921-8009,

Samuel D. Brody, Wesley E. Highfield (2013). Open space protection and flood mitigation: A national study, Land Use Policy, Volume 32, Pages 89-95,
ISSN 0264-8377,


If you or your organization are interested in collaborating on this project please complete the following form. Please note that submitting this form is not a commitment, it is an expression of interest. After sending, you will be contacted by the project lead to get more details about your possible commitment, and to answer your questions .

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