“To Congress and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,
The high water events of 2019 are an important reminder of the need to expand the use of Natural Infrastructure in the Mississippi River System. Reconnecting the river to floodplains where possible and restoring wetlands (marshes, swamps, and riparian areas) along the Mississippi and its tributaries will help take pressure off the levee system and reduce the costs of flood damage and repair.
The 2018 WRDA Bill passed by Congress called on the Corps to consider the use of natural infrastructure in projects for flood damage and risk reduction (Section 1149). Ecological restoration of the Upper and Lower Mississippi Rivers, also included in WRDA, can provide additional opportunities for utilizing natural infrastructure such as floodplains and wetlands, along with the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program administered by FEMA, which can include natural infrastructure measures to help communities avoid flooding.
Immediate action on this matter is important, since some actors are pursuing unilateral actions on the river in response to this year’s floods – a recent report by the group American Rivers pointed to illegal raising of levees on the Upper Mississippi River, which can lead to negative effects on drainage downstream, as well as on river functions.
Please pursue these and other opportunities for expanding the use of Natural Infrastructure by providing funding for these measures and supporting related efforts by cities, communities, landowners, and states, and ensuring coordinated flood control policy on the Mississippi River and its tributaries.”
2019 has seen record floods on the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio Rivers and many of their tributaries. These high-water events are a vivid reminder of the role that natural systems can play in flood mitigation and river management.
Natural Infrastructure means the system of floodplains and wetlands that are part of a healthy functioning river system – these areas hold water and can help take pressure off the levee system by acting as “safety valves” for floodwaters that can threaten communities and towns.
Natural Infrastructure can help reduce the costs from flood damage and repair (and can also help clean the water by filtering and processing nutrients and sediments.) A growing number of cities and states are embracing Natural Infrastructure because of its fiscal benefits, as well as those for the environment.
Urge Congress and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expand the use of Natural Infrastructure in flood policy and planning in the Mississippi River System by signing this online petition TODAY:
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