Lateral connectivity refers to the
periodic inundation of the floodplain and the
resulting exchange of water, sediment, organic
matter, nutrients, and organisms. Lateral
connectivity becomes especially important in
large rivers with broad floodplains.
Periodic floods refill oxbow lakes and
recharge wetlands. Inundated areas may be used
as spawning areas by species such as northern
pike. Floodwaters carry nutrients and organic
matter from the land to the stream's aquatic
plants, plankton, stream invertebrates, and
fish. Seasonal flooding produces a variety of
streamside vegetation and habitat for a
diversity of birds and mammals.
et al., 1989)