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J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2015, 3(3), 1093-1116; doi:10.3390/jmse3031093

A Flood Risk Assessment of the LaHave River Watershed, Canada Using GIS Techniques and an Unstructured Grid Combined River-Coastal Hydrodynamic Model

Applied Geomatics Research Group, Nova Scotia Community College, Middleton, NS B0S 1M0, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Rick Luettich
Received: 29 June 2015 / Accepted: 15 September 2015 / Published: 22 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal Hazards Related to Storm Surge)
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A flexible mesh hydrodynamic model was developed to simulate flooding of the LaHave River watershed in Nova Scotia, Canada, from the combined effects of fluvial discharge and ocean tide and surge conditions. The analysis incorporated high-resolution lidar elevation data, bathymetric river and coastal chart data, and river cross-section information. These data were merged to generate a seamless digital elevation model which was used, along with river discharge and tidal elevation data, to run a two-dimensional hydrodynamic model to produce flood risk predictions for the watershed. Fine resolution topography data were integrated seamlessly with coarse resolution bathymetry using a series of GIS tools. Model simulations were carried out using DHI Mike 21 Flexible Mesh under a variety of combinations of discharge events and storm surge levels. Discharge events were simulated for events that represent a typical annual maximum runoff and extreme events, while tide and storm surge events were simulated by using the predicted tidal time series and adding 2 and 3 m storm surge events to the ocean level seaward of the mouth of the river. Model output was examined and the maximum water level for the duration of each simulation was extracted and merged into one file that was used in a GIS to map the maximum flood extent and water depth. Upstream areas were most vulnerable to fluvial discharge events, the lower estuary was most vulnerable to the effect of storm surge and sea-level rise, and the Town of Bridgewater was influenced by the combined effects of discharge and storm surge. To facilitate the use of the results for planning officials, GIS flood risk layers were intersected with critical infrastructure, identifying the roads, buildings, and municipal sewage infrastructure at risk under each flood scenario. Roads were converted to points at 10 m spacing for inundated areas and appended with the flood depth calculated from the maximum water level subtracted from the lidar digital elevation model. View Full-Text
Keywords: storm surge; flood risk mapping; sea level rise; flexible mesh; GIS storm surge; flood risk mapping; sea level rise; flexible mesh; GIS

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

McGuigan, K.; Webster, T.; Collins, K. A Flood Risk Assessment of the LaHave River Watershed, Canada Using GIS Techniques and an Unstructured Grid Combined River-Coastal Hydrodynamic Model. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2015, 3, 1093-1116.

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