Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Jason Polk (chair), Leslie North, Nick Lawhon, Jun Yan

Degree Program

Department of Earth, Environmental, and Atmospheric Sciences

Degree Type

Master of Science


This study examines how the usage of an integrated GIS (Geographic Information Systems), flood vulnerability assessment, and management approaches can aid in hazard response planning in karst groundwater systems, particularly in urban environments. In order to also better understand the impacts of flood events on socially vulnerable groups, this research was focused on historically excluded communities. Additionally, place-based vulnerabilities were primarily assessed based upon three main factors in the vulnerability framework and how these components intersect: social, environmental conditions, and economic. By understanding which areas of the City of Bowling Green, an iconic urban karst area, are most vulnerable and the precise ways in which these areas are vulnerable with respect to karst features and floodplain identification, management can be focused to specifically target those areas and the susceptibilities present. Utilizing the developed karst flood vulnerability index (kFVI), it was determined that some areas of the CoBG have higher levels of vulnerability to flooding than others and that there is some variability in how these different areas are able to handle recovery, including potentially diminished abilities to recover based on environmental inequities. Based upon the acquired knowledge of flood vulnerabilities in the CoBG by applying the created framework, recommendations are made on how flood mitigation and recovery may be improved through improved management strategies and comprehensive development planning.


Environmental Sciences | Geographic Information Sciences | Geography | Water Resource Management