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Urban Floodplain Restoration


The White River Experimental Restoration Project is an effort by the Center for Earth and Environmental Science (CEES) at IUPUI to support ecological restoration of an urban riparian forest while studying the effects of different reforestation strategies and providing educational opportunities through experiential learning.


The process of assisting the recovery and management of ecological integrity. Ecological integrity includes a critical range of variability in biodiversity, ecological processes and structures, regional and historical context, and sustainable cultural practices (Society for Ecological Restoration, 1996).


  • The primary goal for this work is to increase experiential learning in a natural laboratory for both formal and informal education groups.
  • The principal secondary goal of this project is to evaluate commonly utilized floodplain restoration methods.


  • This project will utilize the principal of self design for the establishment of a functioning floodplain community.
  • Following the principles of self design, native self-recruiting species will not be disturbed.
  • Similarly, exotic vegetation will be identified, and as a matter of policy, known aggressive exotic species will be removed.

Proposed Ecological Reference Condition

The ecological reference condition used as a standard for comparison will be the 96th Street Woods. This reference ecosystem was selected because of its evaluation by the Division of Nature Preserves, Indiana Department of Natural Resources as the highest quality floodplain forest community found for over 150 miles along the White River.