Laura Akindo

Date of Award

January 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Geography & Geographic Information Science

First Advisor

Gregory Vandeberg


Riparian zones are areas along waterways that are typically covered by woody vegetation, herbaceous plants, and grasses. Flooding is an important process in riparian habitats as it continuously causes net gains and losses of substrates in riparian communities that determine the productivity of the riparian area. Most notably by providing new areas on the floodplain to be colonized by riparian plant species. Sometimes extreme flooding events can temporarily devastate riparian communities, as in most cases the area recovers quickly. This study evaluated the effects of the 1997 Red River flood on the woody cover in the riparian area cover along two segments under different land use. I mapped woody vegetation along the two study areas, located along the segment of the Red River of the North that runs through Grand Forks County, ND, and Polk County, MN by manually digitizing historical and recent aerial imagery to determine initial effects of the 1997 flood on woody vegetation as compared to longer-term effects. I calculated the overall change in vegetation cover along the study segments over the 20 years since the 1997 flood. The results showed a decline in the area of woody vegetation between 1991 and 1997. There was an increase between 1997 and 2018 in the area of woody vegetation.