Thursday, February 19, 2015

Flooding Caused by the Pemigewasset River in Plymouth

The problem I chose to examine is the flooding that occurs in Plymouth from the Pemigewasset River. It is a normal occurrence for this river to cause some issues in the towns of Holderness and Plymouth. Houses and businesses are located near the river and are situated on its floodplain. Once the river reaches its flooding level (13 ft), these houses and businesses are at risk for potential flooding damage. This happened just last year when a weather system brought heavy rain to the area. The excessive rainfall plus snow melt caused the river to rise enough to flood the Ice Arena parking lot. When Tropical Storm Irene hit, it brought heavy rains that raised the Pemigewasset to 21 feet. This brought major flooding to the Ice Arena, PE Center, gas stations, and houses situated along and near the river. It took some time for the area to recover from this amount of flooding.
Image from:

The four disciplines that I feel that deal with this problem includes economics/business, history, ecology, and earth science. Taking an interdisciplinary approach to this problem gives way for integration between multiple disciplines. Each of these disciplines have different perspectives of the problem. Examining these multiple perspectives is pivotal for a more comprehensive understanding of the problem. Looking at one perspective is not enough to solve the problem at hand. To have a greater understanding this problem it is important to see how these four disciplines integrate and work together.

Perspective on Problem
How the Perspective Illuminates the Problem as a Whole
“Emphasizes the study of the production and distribution of goods and services with the individual functioning as a separate, autonomous, and rational entity” (Repko, 151).
Views flood as having economic/business impacts on local economies.
Produced economic issues for business that were flooded. Also caused unforeseen economics issues with loss in state money to deal with the flooding in the city.
“Believe that any historical period cannot be adequately appreciated without understanding the trends and developments leading up to it” (Repko, 151). 
Views flooding as a problem with historical content
Historical trends have shown that this area has flooded in the past yet people continue to live near the river. 
“An interdisciplinary branch of biology that studies the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment” (Repko, 150).
Views flooding as an ecological phenomenon
Flooded waters have debris in them causing the water to be unsafe. Could cause harm to various organisms.
Earth Science
“Focuses on the large-scale physical processes of planet Earth and is concerned with both the details and functions of the four subsystems and their interactions: the lithosphere, the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, and the biosphere” (Repko, 150).
Views flooding as something to do with the atmosphere and biosphere
Excessive amount of rainfall in a short period of time has caused the flooding in the region affecting the biosphere.

Works Cited

"National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service." National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2015. 

Repko, Allen. Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies. LA: Sage Publications, 2013.


  1. Great, Heather! I hope your classmates take note of your citations, too-- so simple to make sure you are adding them, but it really makes your work much more credible and professional. Well chosen issue here, and nice work with the chart!

  2. I think your chart is really adequate. You explained well how the perspective illuminates the problem as a whole. I agree with your statement about how single discipline cannot solve the problem. The issue of flood or any other natural disaster definitely requires an interdisciplinary or trandisciplinary approach. Crossing boundaries help to better understand the problem. I am sure that experts from different disciplines worked on the Pemigewasset flood issue. By a cooperative effort by a team of investigators, each expert used of different methods and concepts.

  3. Heather-
    Very thorough chart, great job! This is a great topic for this activity, it's perfect actually! I think I was still over thinking the whole thing a little bit, so next time I'm doing this I'm going to use yours as a good example to myself! I remember this being a huge problem moving in our freshman year, it was delayed a couple of days and it was a really interesting first impression of PSU!


  4. Great post! I love how you talked about something that mostly all of us can relate to! Being an AT student I was effected by this because of all the practices and games that had to be changed and moved to different locations! I love your chart as well! I thought your disciplines you chose to integrate this were spot on! I definitely agree with Izzy that I was over thinking this and next time I am going to look at your for a great template!