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Earth Science


Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Waterways and Wetlands

Water: A Way of Life:  Sustainable Water Management in a Cultural Context by A.J.M. (Lida) Schelwald-van Der Kley, Linda Reijerkerk (CRC Press) How to make water management projects more successful and sustainable? How is it that large infrastructural water works often encounter opposition? Is it perhaps, among other things, the lack of attention for the cultural context? These and other intriguing questions are dealt with in this book. The authors, having 20 years of experience on water and sanitation in an international context, have investigated the relationship between water and culture world-wide in order to find new keys to successful and sustainable water management.

This book is based on extensive research and is intended to form a cultural road towards new sustainable water management practices. Water: A Way of Life takes the reader on a water journey through time and across the world's continents. Along the way it explains the past and present ways in which different cultures around the world, both traditional and modern, view and manage water in response to the distinct environment they inhabit. As beliefs and values are at the heart of any culture, it also highlights the views of the main world religions on water and its use. A better understanding of cultural water beliefs and practices may lead to new concepts for future sustainable water management — from flood management to water supply, sanitation and irrigation management.

The book will be useful to water professionals exporting knowledge and technologies to foreign countries where the challenge is to create sustainable solutions for water management by taking into account local, cultural factors. It is also intended to encourage world leaders, politicians and decision-makers responsible for water management to use their power, knowledge and influence to really make a change for the benefit of the people they represent. In this way, water can become a source of cooperation rather than a source of conflict.

The authors trust that this book, about water and culture, intended for a truly international audience, will be a source of inspiration.

The ocean accepts all rivers (Rumi-Sufi Poet, 1273)

Why are so many water facilities unsustainable? How is it that large water works infrastructures often encounter opposition, and what is the impact of this opposition on a culture? Why do people sometimes continue to use traditional water systems even when new systems are built in their villages? These and other questions have intrigued us throughout our 20 years of working in an international context on water and sanitation.

Achieving sustainable water management is at the heart of one of the prime Millennium Goals; if access to potable water and sanitation were to be achieved, this would boost mankind's health and welfare. Nonetheless, after half a century still more than 20% of the world's population does not have access to clean drinking water, and nearly half of the population lacks proper sanitation facilities. Many les-sons have been learned over the years; water supply and sanitation has shifted from being a purely technical issue to a field in which community participation and health education have received more attention. Integral water and sanitation management has become more of a rule than an exception. Though the situation has improved, many attempts still are unsuccessful and facilities continue to lie idle and non-maintained. One of the reasons for this is the lack of attention for the cultural context.

But there is more. The cultural context is not only important to water supply and sanitation but is also crucial to the success of large infrastructural works, such as hydro-electric dams or protective measures against flooding. If the cultural context is not taken into account, the likelihood increases that the infrastructure will not be used, or worse, will be sabotaged. We have seen conflicts arise between different inter-est groups because of the fact that no attention was paid to the cultural context.

As part of the research for this book we visited several countries and talked to many people. From ministers, engineers and scientists to local people, patiently awaiting the arrival of potable water or literally standing in the water as their home was flooded. Some were desperate, others hopeful, but most of them were very open and willing to share their feelings and stories with us. Many left quite a deep impression and made us realise that a combined effort is needed to make water management more sustainable, thereby taking into account cultural factors. Working together for sustainable water applies both to developing countries and to the more wealthy developed countries in the world.

As President Barack Obama said in his inauguration speech highlighted the importance of water in poverty reduction:

"..let clean waters flow To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it."

People from different countries can learn from each other. This book, therefore, highlights lessons from all continents.

Culture is a two-way street. It may act as a counteracting force or as an enabling factor for good water management. We found that many water aid projects strand because local cultural factors were not factored into the plans. We saw and learned about brand new water supply systems and water treatment installations, developed by foreign aid programs, lying idle and rusting away. Why? Because all parts of the facility that were of market value to the locals had been stolen. Or because people in power weren't pleased with the equity principle applied. Or the facility was unsuccessful just because people had to pay for water, which was in conflict with cultural and religious beliefs. Elsewhere the authorities simply didn't feel responsible and lacked the necessary skills or money to operate and maintain the installations. Corruption was found to be a killing factor for sustainable water management.

We also saw positive examples, where public participation and inclusion of local knowledge and skills in water management plans led to better health conditions and socio-economic prosperity in the region. For example, a knowledgeable woman we interviewed in South Africa put it this way: "Where people take responsibility, positive things start to happen".

The topics of culture and water management are broad in themselves, let alone the combination of the two. Sometimes it felt as if we were swimming in the middle of an ocean, the shore far away. Wherever you live or work, we trust you will find this book an inspiration to incorporate the cultural context in your work and efforts, so as to effectively contribute to the goal of sustainable water management.

Lida Schelwald-van der Kley: Having worked for many years as an international environ-mental consultant and being a member of the Board of Direc-tors of a Dutch Water Board, Lida has become more and more intrigued with international water issues. She has noticed that despite all efforts, too many people in this world still suffer from too much, too little or too filthy water. During her more than 20 years of consultancy work for both private companies and government organizations, Lida has experienced that communication and cooperation are important for the success of any project. Taking into account the cultural context is likewise important.

She wondered if an exploration of the relationship between water and culture world-wide could help to find the keys to successful and sustainable water management. Lida decided to start an explorative journey across the continents and to lay down her findings in a book. At this point she met an "old" colleague, Linda, who brought along a wealth of world-wide cultural expertise, and they decided to join forces.

Lida has written several international publications on successful communication between industrial companies and their stakeholders. One widely used, as it provides practical guidelines, is "Communication on contaminated land management". Since 1994 Lida has been the Managing Director of Envision-S.

Lida was born in Vancouver, Canada and has lived and worked most of her life in the Netherlands.

Linda Reijerkerk: Since 1985 Linda Reijerkerk has been working as a cultural anthropologist and an international consultant in water management with a clear focus on processes and institutional development and management. She has worked in Western and Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and South America for institutions including the World Bank, Islamic Development Bank, EBRD, African Development Bank and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On all of these continents her work has always focused on project management, institutional development, training and communication/education. Linda speaks Spanish, Portuguese, English, German, French and Dutch.

As Linda saw an increase in environmental conflicts, she specialized as a mediator in 1997, when mediation was still a novelty in the Netherlands. She is now Director of the Centre for Conflict Resolution in the Netherlands, one of the top three Dutch companies specialized in trainings for mediation and negotiation. She is furthermore a professional coach and mediator for business and workplace-related disputes, as well as for public disputes (environmental, multi-party mediation) with a special interest in water conflict resolution.

She is co-author of, among other publications, the Praktijkgids Mediation (Practi-cal Guide to Mediation, 2005), Diversity Management (2005), and Intercultural Con-flict Management and Mediation (2009). She has been a board member of the Dutch Mediators Association (NMV) and is presently President of the European Mediators' Network Initiative, EMNI.


The Functional Assessment of Wetland Ecosystems: Towards Evaluation of Ecosystem Services, includes CD edited by Edward Maltby, U Digby, C Baker (CRC Press)  Wetlands perform functions that deliver benefits to society, often referred to as ecosystem services. These ecosystem services include water supply, flood regulation, water purification, climate regulation, biodiversity, agriculture (e.g. grazing land), and amenity. A functional approach to wetland assessment enables a holistic view to be taken of the wide range of services that wetlands can provide. The functional assessment procedures (FAPs) in this volume translate best available scientific knowledge into reasonable predictions of how component parts of wetlands function in different landscape contexts. They can be used to indicate the potential and priorities for management options in areas such as flood control, pollution reduction and biodiversity conservation.

Functional assessment enables the user to predict the functioning of a wetland area without the need for comprehensive and expensive empirical research. The FAPs therefore provide a methodology that can be used by both experts and non-experts to assess wetland functioning relatively rapidly. The volume includes an electronic version of the FAPs on CD which automates aspects of the assessment once the initial recording stage is completed. It is anticipated that the FAPs will be used by a range of individuals or organisations concerned with wetland management who wish to gain a better understanding of the processes, functions, services or benefits and potential of the wetlands for which they have responsibility.

Edward Maltby is Professor of Wetland Science, Water and Ecosystem Management and Director of the Institute for Sustainable Water, Integrated Management and Ecosystem Research (SWIMMER) at the University of Liverpool, UK. Professor Maltby has an internationally recognised reputation for his research and policy advice on wetlands and their management. He has promoted the functional approach to wetlands through leadership of numerous major interdisciplinary projects in Europe contributing to the present text and also worldwide.

Other prominent applied studies have included peat investigations in the Falkland Islands associated with mine detection and clearance, and analysis in 1994 of environmental impacts of engineering works in the Tigris-Euphrates river basin on the marshlands of southern Iraq. He was elected chair of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Commission on Ecosystem Management 1996-2000 and played a major role in development of the Ecosystem Approach within the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Wetlands perform functions that deliver benefits to society, often referred to as ecosystem services, as a result of the interactions that take place among natural processes within the structure of these ecosystems. However, wetlands do not all per-form the same functions, nor is any one function carried out to the same extent or intensity among different wetland types. A functional approach to wetland assessment enables a holistic view to be taken of the wide range of services wetlands can provide. Some of these may be mutually exclusive, or else one service may be optimised only by reducing the effectiveness of another. The functional assessment procedures (FAPs) can be used to determine the likelihood of particular functions occur-ring, and how this may vary with changing environmental conditions and manage-ment. Questions can be addressed such as 'what are the implications for biodiversity or water quality regulation if water levels are raised by a given level?' The method can be used to indicate the potential and priorities for management options, and at what point further studies are required to improve the knowledge necessary for strategic land-use or site-specific management decisions to be made with more con-fidence.

The FAPs provide a methodology, which can be used by both experts and non-experts to assess wetland functioning relatively rapidly. Primarily this is achieved by the identification of key characteristics or predictors, which can be related to functions without the need for detailed studies. The most effective performance of some key functions, such as nitrate removal by denitrification, is sometimes focused on small discrete areas of the landscape. To cater for this, assessments are made of distinctive, often small areas of the wetland, characterised by features of hydrology and landform. Better understanding of such variation can lead to improved management and more satisfactory resolution of planning and land-use conflicts, offering options for alternative uses and addressing development pressures.

Previous development of sufficiently robust, science-based tools for wetland functional assessment has been impeded by the lack of integration of the wide range of specialised scientific and geographical perspectives necessary. However, a sequence of EC-funded research projects undertaken since 1991 was targeted largely to overcome this impediment through international and inter-disciplinary collaboration.

It is anticipated that the FAPs will be used by a range of individuals or organisations concerned with wetland management who wish to gain a better understanding of the processes, functions, services or benefits and potential of the wetlands for which they have responsibility or interests. The FAPs are a first step in providing guidance for on-site management and decision making by presenting information on how a wetland is likely to be functioning and the key processes operating within it. On a different level, the FAPs can assist strategic planners at local and catchment scales to make decisions on wetland management and land-use through assessment of overall wetland functioning and the contribution of wetlands to ecosystem ser-vices such as water quality, water quantity and biodiversity. Knowledge of functioning can be used to assist with the implementation of national and wider policy, such as the Water Framework Directive, where they can assist with decisions such as the location, type, number and area of wetland buffer zones required to deliver desired water quality benefits, or the risks to the integrity of water bodies and contiguous wetlands resulting from activities such as abstraction that affect water resources.

The modular structure of the package facilitates its expansion to include addition-al functions to meet the requirements of other specific users, such as the development of a module for wetland archaeologists. The heritage value of wetlands derives mainly from the ability of waterlogged anoxic environments to preserve organic and associated archaeological evidence, which is otherwise rapidly destroyed by biolog-ical decay processes under the oxidised conditions that prevail when drying out takes place.

Assessment outcomes from the FAPs can be used in conjunction with other information relating to, for example, societal priorities, costings and policy limitations to assist and support environmental decision making. The FAPs translate best available scientific knowledge into reasonable predictions of how component parts of wet-lands function in different landscape contexts. FAP outcomes are linked to societal priorities such as flood control, pollution reduction and biodiversity conservation. The FAPs recognise and emphasise the 'natural capital' of healthy wetland ecosystems, and reinforce the fact that wetland management is a question of choice: for individuals as well as society.

There have been at least three major developments over the gestation period of the FAPs, which underlie their potential significance and points of relevance to oper-ational application:

1. elaboration of the Ecosystem Approach as the primary instrument for delivery of the objectives of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (http://www.biodiv.org);

2. the UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA: http://www.maweb.org), which assesses the links between ecosystems and human wellbeing, govern-mental support through the Millennium Development Goals and the Plan of Implementation following the World Summit of Sustainable Development (http://www.un.org/events/wssd/);

3. in Europe, the development of a more integrated and holistic approach to water management through implementation of the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC).

The common philosophy underpinning the rationale behind these initiatives is the recognition that ecosystem functioning is directly or indirectly responsible for the delivery of goods and services that are essential to human welfare. The value of such benefits is sometimes recognised as the 'natural capital' of the world's ecosystems. There is considerable interest from the policy community in the development of methodologies for the assessment of ecosystem services as support to improved decision making in the management of natural resources. Wetlands deliver a wide range of ecosystem services that contribute to human wellbeing, such as water sup-ply, flood regulation, water purification, climate regulation, biodiversity and productivity (e.g. of fish and grazing land) and amenity.

Functional assessment enables the user to predict the functioning of a wetland area without the need for comprehensive empirical research. This provides indica-tors for the quality and degree of delivery of specified ecosystem services. The link to specific ecosystem services has been developed subsequently through a geograph-ical information system (GIS) mounted decision support tool called the Wetland Ecosystem Decision Support System (WEDSS; http://www.liv.ac.uk/swimmer/research/past_projects.htm .

Application of the FAPs enables the user to make more informed and rational decisions about wetlands, based on the better understanding of how they work and what they are contributing, or could contribute, to various sectoral interest groups and to society as a whole.

Changing River: Time, Culture, And The Transformation Of Landscape In The Grand Canyon/a> by Helen C. Fairley (SRI Technical: University of Arizona Press) This book is a response to the USGS's call for a research design that could be used as a framework for prioritizing cultural resources in the Colorado River ecosystem below Glen Canyon Dam. Changing River includes summaries of current environmental conditions and previous research and brings together diverse archaeological opinions about Grand Canyon's human story. It then presents a theoretical basis for using a landscape approach to organize future research efforts in the canyon. The research presented here explores the geophysical, paleoclimatic, and biological parameters that have shaped the canyon landscape and influenced choices made by humans as they attempted to adapt to this ecosystem. It then focuses on the distribution of cultural materials and patterns using several archaeological approaches, and investigates natural and cultural realms as mutually reinforcing and interacting components of an integrated ecosystem to which humans have applied meaning and value over time.

Immortal River: The Upper Mississippi In Ancient And Modern Times by Calvin R Fremling (University of Wisconsin Press) (Hardcover) This engaging and well-illustrated primer to the Upper Mississippi River presents the basic natural and human history of this magnificent waterway. Immortal River is written for the educated lay-person who would like to know more about the river's history and the forces that shape as well as threaten it today. It melds complex information from the fields of geology, ecology, geography, anthropology, and history into a readable, chronological story that spans some 500 million years of the earth's history.

Like the Mississippi itself, Immortal River often leaves the main channel to explore the river's backwaters, floodplain, and drainage basin. The book's focus is the Upper Mississippi, from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Cairo, Illinois. But it also includes information about the river's headwaters in northern Minnesota and about the Lower Mississippi from Cairo south to the river's mouth ninety miles below New Orleans. It offers an understanding of the basic geology underlying the river's landscapes, ecology, environmental problems, and grandeur.


Wetlands Plants and Animals CD-ROM and Book by Mallory Pearce (Dover Electronic Clip Art: Dover) Original Dover publication. One CD-ROM and paperbound book. 145 black-and-white illustrations.

An invaluable resource for craftworkers as well as professional illustrators, this splendid archive will add a naturalistic touch to a wide number of projects. Among the realistic depictions of flora and fauna from the wetlands of North America are images of the moose, Florida manatee, river otter, mink, great egret, sandhill crane, marsh wren, bald cypress, swamp rose mallow, and giant foxtail. Included in the set are: 

One CD-ROM containing 145 high-quality, permission-free images scanned at 600 dpi and saved in six different formats (TIFF, PICT, EPS, BMP, as well as Internet-ready JPEG and GIF)

A large-format 64-page book with every image on the CD-ROM printed large and clearly on one side of the page only and numbered for easy reference and direct cut-and-paste use 

Handsomely and accurately rendered, these illustrations are perfect for poster art, signs, advertisements, and other graphic assignments. Ideal as well for classroom activities, the detailed drawings will appeal to nature lovers and environmentalists.


Water Resource Systems Management Tools by Larry W Mays (McGraw-Hill Professional Engineering. Civil Engineering: McGraw-Hill) is a unique, integrated approach to water resource systems management and planning. The book provides methods for analyzing water resource needs, modeling, supply reliability, irrigation optimization, and much more. With more and more attention being given to the worldwide interest in sustainability, to the effects of global climate change on future water resources operation and management, as well as public health issues, Dr. Mays has gathered together leading experts in their respective fields offering the latest information on the subject. A fresh approach offering insight for the present generation within the water resources community.

Meeting an increasingly critical need, this comprehensive professional handbook provides an integrated toolset for forecasting water use and availability, and for the system-wide management of water resources. Edited by internationally respected expert Larry Mays, and featuring contributions from the field's leading specialists, this authoritative compendium offers you system-wide approaches and powerful tools to:

  • Analyze management and operation
  • Apply risk-reliability analysis to various water systems
  • Assess water supply system reliability
  • Optimize irrigation flows
  • Manage regional water supply system
  • Manage river-reservoir sediment and erosion issues
  • Operate water distribution systems


  • Systems Analysis
  • Uncertainty and Reliability Analysis
  • Optimal Control of Irrigation Systems
  • Regional Water Supply Planning
  • Groundwater Management Models
  • River-Reservoir System Operation for Control of Sediment
  • Water Supply Reliability

This book is the third book in a series of books dealing with management tools for water. The titles of the first two books in this series are Urban Water Supply Management Tools and Urban Stormwater Management Tools, both published by McGraw-Hill in 2004. This third book, first and foremost, is intended to be a reference book for those wishing to expand their knowledge of state-of-the-art techniques for the management of various types of water resources systems. This book focuses upon the use of optimization techniques, in many cases interfaced with simulation models, to operate water sys­tems such as river-reservoir systems, water distribution systems, and irrigation canals. Also this book looks at the use of optimization techniques for remediation design of groundwater systems and the operation and capacity expansion of regional water supply systems. A second major focus is the use of uncertainty and reliability analysis for the analysis of water resources systems. This book will be of value to engineers, managers, operators, and analysts involved with the various aspects of analysis and operation of various water resource systems. Another use of this book will be as a text for graduate level courses in water resource systems analysis.

Preparation of this book has been a special treat for me because all of the authors (Drs. Messele Z. Ejeta, Fred Goldman, John Nicklow, Sukru Ozger, Richard Skaggs, Y.K. Tung, and Brian Whalin) are former Ph.D. students and close friends of mine. Each of these chapter authors has become a leading expert in the field of water resource systems. The authors were chosen, not only because they are former students of mine, but because of their proven knowledge in the specific area of their contribution. Chapters 1 and 2 are updated versions, respectively, of Chapters 6 and 7 of the Water Resources Handbook, published in 1996 by McGraw-Hill, for which I was also the Editor-in-Chief.

One of the quotes that I used in the Water Resources Handbook was by Chief Seattle, chief of the Suquamish tribe, who lived across Puget Sound from the site of the city that later arose in Seattle's name, "Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does, to the web, he does to himself." Humans have obviously done some fairly major changes to affect this web that will have serious consequences for the future. Among these changes on Earth are those that affect our water resources and environment. Humans have created some very interesting and challenging water resource problems that will challenge us for many decades and centuries into the future. These include the challenges that we face from global climate change, the challenges that we face for sustainability, the challenges related to water supply systems security from terrorist activity, just to name a few. Hopefully the types of methodologies discussed in this book will at least fulfill some small advancement in the solution of our future water resources challenges.

Water Treatment Plant Design, 4th Edition by Edward E. Baruth, American Water Works Assn. Staff, American Society of Civil Engineers (McGraw-Hill Professional) Refer To The Best New Planning, Design, And Construction Methods For Today's Water Treatment Facilities

This classic reference -- the bible of the field since 1939 -- has been completely updated for this new Fourth Edition, with typically unsurpassed coverage of water treatment plant design topics. Let a team of water treatment plant design experts -- more than 40 international authorities -- give you comprehensive guidance on modernizing existing water treatment facilities and planning new ones -- from initial plans and permits through design, construction, and start-up.

In addition, you'll learn about the latest U.S. EPA regulations and about flexible design that can meet anticipated requirements, and find a wealth of information on instrumentation and control and structural, electrical, and design reliability developments -- plus updates on water treatment methods such as aeration, coagulation, flocculation, clarification, filtration, oxidation, and disinfection.

This outstanding reference gives you state-of-the-art coverage of:

  • Environmental impact and project permitting

  • Site selection

  • Master planning and treatment process selection

  • Ion exchange

  • Membrane processes

  • Hydraulics

  • Pilot plant design

  • Construction costs

  • Operations and maintenance


  • UV technology

  • Antisabotage and vandalism measures

  • Codes, regulations, and standards

The industry standard reference for water treatment plant design and modernization has been updated to include hot topics such as security and design, vulnerability assessments, and planning against vandalism and sabotage, as well as the latest information on codes, regulations, and water quality standards.

  • Latest code updates and new water quality standards

  • Design operation and analysis of treatment facilities

Microhydro: Clean Power from Water by Scott Davis (New Society Publishers) Hydroelectricity is the world's largest – and cleanest – source of renewable energy. But despite lively interest in renewables generally, there is an information vacuum about the smallest version of a technology dubbed "the simplest, most reliable and least expensive way to generate power off grid."

Covering both AC and DC systems, Microhydro first introduces the important principles on which microhydro is based, including the advantages and disadvantages of using small amounts of water to generate power. The book, written by Scott Davis, with decades of experience operating, installing, designing, selling, and teaching about microhydro technology, outlines in depth:

  • how to assess electrical needs.
  • how to assess a specific site – including measurement of water flow, water pressure, losses from friction, and the choice of jets.
  • how to choose the appropriate system – including DC systems with turbines and batteries, and AC systems with governing devices.
  • how to install a microhydro system – including intakes, pipes and penstocks, as well as common obstacles.
  • the common regulations and incentives for installing microhydro power.
  • seven important case studies that demonstrate microhydro possibilities.

Along with a glossary of microhydro terms, further reading and resources – including websites and commercial suppliers – Microhydro includes the information a homeowner needs to start generating clean, off-grid, and independent power.

Highly illustrated and practical, written by a systems designer and an award-winning expert, Microhydro is the first complete book on the topic in a decade.

At long last, a book about small, residential-scale hydroelectric. Our industry has been looking for this book for over ten years! – Doug Pratt, Technical Editor, Real Goods

Rivers and Floodplains: Forms, Processes, and Sedimentary Record by J. S. Bridge (Blackwell) Rivers and floodplains are of interest to most people in one way or another, because most of us live near rivers and floodplains and rely on them for water supply, food, power, transport, recreation, waste disposal, and as a source of raw materials. Earth scientists and civil, environmental, and agricul­tural engineers must understand rivers and flood­plains in order to deal with problems such as floods, water supply, design and construction of artificial channels, river-bank erosion, sedimentation in reservoirs and navigated waterways, restoration of freshwater habitats, and remediation of polluted surface water and groundwater. Earth scientists (particularly physical geographers and sedimentary geologists) also study modem rivers and flood­plains in order to understand how water flows, transports, erodes, and deposits sediment, and how these processes control the form of hill-slopes, river channels, floodplains, alluvial fans, and deltas. Sedimentary geologists are particularly interested in the nature of modern deposition in rivers and flood­plains, as this knowledge must be used to inter­pret the origin of ancient river deposits. Ancient river deposits contain a record of past landscapes, earth movements, and climates. An understanding of ancient river deposits is essential for effective exploration, development, and management of economically important resources contained within ancient river deposits, such as water, oil, gas, placer minerals, and coal. Therefore, hydrogeologists, environmental geologists, petroleum geologists, and engineers must understand the deposits of rivers and floodplains. This broad interest in rivers and floodplains has resulted in such a vast and disparate literature that it is very difficult to obtain a compre­hensive view of rivers and floodplains as a general background for work in a more specialized field. Therefore, my purpose in writing this book is to bring together the literature on rivers and flood­plains in a way that will appeal to a broad audience of students, teachers, and practicing professionals in the fields of geology, geography, and engineering.

Rivers and Floodplains is concerned with the origin, nature, and evolution of alluvial rivers and floodplains. Following a brief overview of river systems, the main part of the book is concerned with the geo­metry, water flow, sediment transport, erosion, and deposition associated with modern alluvial rivers and floodplains, and how this information is used to interpret deposits of ancient rivers and floodplains. These topics are considered in order of increasing spatial and time scale. There is a section on inter­pretation of the types and lifestyles of ancient land-dwelling organisms from organic remains in fluvial deposits. Throughout the book, there is spe­cific reference to human interactions with rivers and floodplains, and associated environmental and engineering concerns. There is also frequent refer­ence made to economic aspects of fluvial deposits. Methods of studying rivers and floodplains and their deposits are discussed at the end of the book.

The approach taken in Rivers and Floodplains is to emphasize basic principles, but also to discuss some of the more important details. These principles and details are supported by many examples, but Bridge  has tried to avoid a catalogue of case studies. A basic aim is to foster understanding of the nature of modern rivers and floodplains, and to illustrate that this understanding is required before any problems concerning rivers and floodplains, past or present, can be understood.

Achieving Sustainable Freshwater Systems: A Web of Connections by Marjorie M. Holland, Elizabeth R. Blood, Lawrence R. Shaffer (Island Press) One of the most pressing challenges of the 21st century is to develop a means of satisfying the water demands of an ever-expanding human population while at the same time protecting the aquatic ecosystems and ecological services upon which all life depends.

Achieving Sustainable Freshwater Systems brings together experts from a wide range of disciplines to present key insights and information on sustainable freshwater systems. Contributors represent a variety of perspectives and expertise, helping to illuminate the multiple connections and concerns involved with freshwater systems. Throughout they focus on the idea that freshwater systems lie at the heart of many different environmental and societal concerns. Achieving sustainability will require a heightened understanding of the connections among those concerns, and a willingness for experts and stakeholders to work together across areas of interest.

For both scientists and managers, Achieving Sustainable Freshwater Systems represents an important new resource for formulating site-specific solutions to problems involving natural resource sustainability

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