The handbook of environmental chemistry- Chapter: The Evolution of the Seine Basin Water Bodies Through Historical Maps

The Seine River basin (65,000 km2) is extremely rich in cartographic documents generated over the past two centuries: general maps describing the territory, fiscal land registries, navigation charts (e.g. bathymetric profiles and maps), etc. After 1830 river engineers (Ponts et Chaussées) started to develop a huge network of waterways, which were charted with precision and accuracy. These documents, retrieved from various archives, have been checked, selected, geo-referenced and digitalised within an open-access database (ArchiSeine). It has allowed researchers to fully quantify the state of rivers, often in their lateral, longitudinal and vertical dimensions, their long-term and slow natural dynamics (e.g. meander movement) and their abrupt modifications by man-made river works due to various and evolving river use (water supply, wood rafting, navigation, hydropower, sand extraction, flood protection), all closely connected to Paris growing demands, and the adjustments of the fluvial system to these changes. From headwaters to the estuary, the physical attributes of the Seine River system have been substantially modified. Examples of such environmental trajectories are provided for the Versailles plateau headwaters, the Bassée alluvial plain and the Lower Seine sector.

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