American Society of Civil Engineers

Chaotic Slackwater

by Maria Gregory, (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, P.O. Box 2946, Portland, OR 97208)
Section: Water, Hydro, and Eco-Politics, pp. 1-10, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Waterpower ’99: Hydro’s Future: Technology, Markets, and Policy
Abstract: From the ice age to slackwater, the Columbia River continues to ebb and flow through our lives. This paper will explore the ebb and flow between natural and human ecosystems. The new science of chaos will be introduced as a means for further understanding these ecosystems and how it shapes our management of water policy in the Pacific Northwest. Just as natural ecosystems flow between order and chaos, our institutional management systems follow a similar governance structure. As examples of this ebb and flow, I will compare and link traditional and contemporary water management, historic policy issues with current issues, and natural systems management with human management. Through this comparison and linkage, I will provide another perspective on our sometimes chaotic management to slackwater.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Columbia River
Water management
Water policy