….Climate change experts predict new weather patterns that include droughts in some places, heavier rainfall in other areas, and decades of much more severe tropical storm patterns along the Gulf and East Coast. We know that the levees in
Those bigger and "better" levees come with financial and social costs – someone downstream will inevitably suffer the consequences. We can
…American communities and policymakers at all levels can prohibit new construction in flood plains. Let
We need to integrate levee protection so that it is not a "patchwork" of uncoordinated structures built by different agencies and jurisdictions. The 272-page report prepared after the 1993 floods in
Local, federal, and state governments should develop an integrated strategic flooding plan that deliberately designates "safety valves" along US rivers and tributaries prone to extreme flooding. By creating places where water can flow all the way up and down waterways and coastal areas with minimal damage, it relieves flood pressure downstream from densely populated communities. Just like a valve on pressure cookers, built in safety valves would be a place where rivers could blow out with less damage.
Resistance to this "managed retreat" approach will be fierce from landowners, developers, and the US Army Corps of Engineers. Because, without clear compensation, they will see a threat to their interests. However, evidence points to this new management system as sound, doable, and realistic…..The Anacostia River flood in 1926, from a U.S. Naval Historical Center photograph, Wikimedia Commons