Monday, November 17, 2014

Corps of Engineers embraces uncertainty of climate change

A press release from the US Army Corps of Engineers: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is adapting the way it operates to accommodate climate changes that could cause floods and droughts. "During the past 50 years, much of the U.S. has seen an increase in periods of high temperature and severe floods and heavy downpours and droughts," said Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, commanding general, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "We all have observed changes to the frequency and the severity of these events."

In April and May of 2011, he said, residents in the Mississippi basin experienced some of the worst flooding seen since 1927. The next year, in 2012, droughts in the same region impacted navigation along the same river, which required "a significant response effort" to get traffic moving again on the river.

"That is what the nation, and the world, is experiencing," Bostick said. "These changes are increasing the risk and the vulnerability of operations, missions and infrastructure; effective climate change preparation and resilience are important to the corps. Adaptation and preparation is not an optional thing for the Corps of Engineers. It's something we feel we have to do."

During a press conference Thursday, at the Corps of Engineers headquarters here, Bostick explained that the corps is aware of climate change, and is changing the way it operates to accommodate changes due to climate.

"We're translating science into policy, we are adapting new infrastructure to withstand changes in climate, and we are looking at our existing infrastructure to see where it is vulnerable to changing climate and the steps we must take to make it more resilient," Bostick said. "We are also looking at how all of this fits into a systems approach."...

US Army Corps of Engineers photo of a dam at Burnsville Lake in West Virginia

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