– Freedom space for rivers: a climate change adaptation approach

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Bank erosion and flooding are natural phenomena that could increase due to climate change, resulting in potential land use conflicts near rivers. Frequent engineering interventions such as bank stabilization or flood protection are traditionally required to protect infrastructure or maintain agricultural land use near streams. However, there is a growing consensus among practitioners and researchers that fluvial processes must be left free to operate and that hard-engineered solutions against floods and bank erosion should not be the only solution. Giving more space to rivers to restore natural processes appears as a more sustainable solution in terms of both risk management and environmental protection. Details and examples of theses kinds of new practice will be provided, and the recent work done in Quebec to identify and map this « freedom space » for rivers will be presented and discussed.