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Keywords:

  • risk communication;
  • risk management strategies;
  • social vulnerability reduction;
  • sustainable floodplain management

More than a decade after the 1997 Red River Flood, vulnerability to future flooding exists due to a lack of risk communication. This study identifies risk communication gaps and discusses the creation of strategies to enhance information-sharing, bottom-up activity and partnership development. The objectives were achieved using mixed methods, including interviews, a floodplain-wide survey, and a decision-makers' risk management workshop. The results highlight a number of external pressures exerted by regional floodplain policies and procedures that restrict risk communication and affect social vulnerability in the rural floodplain. The failures of a top-down approach to floodplain management have impacted on communities' abilities to address floodplain risks, have amplified local risks, and have decreased community cooperation in floodplain management initiatives since the 1997 ‘Flood of the Century’. Recommended policies promote the establishment of community standards to compensate for gaps in risk communication and the development of partnerships between floodplain communities.