Ice Age Floods
Study of Alternatives
Section B—Introduction—How to Read this Study


This report is divided into thirteen sections. They are:

·       Executive Summary

·       Introduction—How to Read the Study

·       Purpose and Need

·       Background

·       Examination of Similar Projects

·       Criteria for Designation

·       National Significance

·       Suitability and Feasibility

·       Study Process

·       Interpretation

·       Management Considerations

·       Management Alternatives

·       Environmental Consequences

·       Most Effective and Efficient Management Alternative


Ice Ages

For at least the last two million years, the earth’s climate has fluctuated between ice ages. These cycles are largely driven by slight changes in the way the earth orbits around the sun—just small changes in the various wobbles of the earth’s motion are sufficient to fundamentally shift the earth from an “ice-house” to a “hot-house.”

The best way to obtain a thorough understanding of the Ice Age Floods Study of Alternatives is to read the report from start to finish. The first three sections—Purpose and Need and Background and Examination of Similar Projects—provide the background and context for the Study. The middle four sections—Criteria for Designation, National Significance, Suitability and Feasibility, and Study Process—address the standards required for this type of project, how the standards were analyzed, and how the Floods region meets these standards. The final four sections—Interpretation, Management Considerations, Management Alternatives, Most Effective and Efficient Management Alternative—make recommendations on how to make the Ice Age Floods Geologic region successful.

For those readers who are in a hurry, the Executive Summary condenses the recommendations of this report into six concise pages.

At the beginning of each section is a brief summary that provides an overview of pertinent information and recommendations. When combined these summaries comprise much of the Executive Summary.

Three types of information are provided in the margins of the report:

·       Critical Information that has been pulled from the text and is being highlighted to make certain the reader does not miss it.

·       Floods Facts that provide interesting pieces of information. For example: Glacial Lake Missoula contained more water than Lake Erie and Lake Ontario combined.

·       Quotes from and about individuals involved with understanding the Ice Age Floods story.

When appropriate, graphic images are used to augment the text. These include maps, charts, photographs, and sketches, all of which are visual attempts to make information more accessible.

The Appendix includes supplemental information beneficial for readers seeking a more thorough understanding of the Floods region. This material includes:

·       Reference List

·       Glossary of Terms

·       Study Team Participants

·       Public Law 105-391

·       Four State Resolutions

·       Similar Projects

previous chapter

Ice Age Floods Study logo

next chapter