Mississippi River Flooding Could Be Minimized by Open Space, According to Wetlands Expert Who Will Speak at Yale

Donald Hey, director of Wetlands Research Inc. and senior vice president of The Wetlands Initiative Inc., both in Chicago, Ill., will be the next speaker in the semester-long series “The Restoration Agenda: Water!” presented by the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. His talk, “The Business of Environmental Restoration,” will focus on flood management and will be given on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in Bowers Auditorium of Sage Hall, 205 Prospect St. An open forum will follow from 1 to 2 p.m. during an informal luncheon. Brown-bag lunches are welcome; hot beverages are provided.

The series is free to all members of the Yale community and alumni/ae. Community members also are welcome, and registration fee information is available from Dr. Aimlee Laderman, (203) 432-3335, or via e-mail at aimlee.laderman@yale.edu

The Mississippi flood of 1993 reflects an ecosystem in a state of chaos, according to Hey, who has a Ph.D. degree in environmental engineering. Thirteen million acres of wetlands could have contained this disastrous flood, but neither a major national park nor large open space exists in the central Midwest. A “riverine” national park comprising 2 million acres (the size of Yellowstone Park) at the confluence of the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois rivers would help control floods and fill other environmental needs, he says.

Hey will talk about means of financing the solutions to flood damage and poor water quality, as well as declining wildlife, biodiversity and recreational value. He will explore how pollution credit trading, a concept in its infancy, could provide a viable means for revitalizing a severely damaged region and preventing further disaster. Pilot projects at Little Creek, Emiquon, Swan Lake and the Senachwien watershed will also illustrate methods of backwater lake restoration, carp control and sediment management.

Hey’s research interests focus on the restoration of river and wetland systems and the development of low-cost management programs for sustaining restored aquatic ecosystems. He has served on a number of editorial boards and committees, including: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board, the International Joint Commission (Levels Reference Study), and the National Research Council (NRC). He is a contributing author to the NRC report on Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems, which presents guidelines for national policy.

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