Organizations ask USACE to incorporate nature-based solutions

Nov. 11, 2021
EDF and nearly 100 organizations have issued a public call to action, urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to implement nature-based flood risk solutions.

Nearly 100 organizations have issued a call to action to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to improve their approaches to the complex issues of independent and compounding flood threats. In a letter addressed to Michael Connor, the newly-confirmed Assistant Secretary of the Army, Civil Works, the groups outline three specific opportunities for the Corps to meet the challenges of climate-induced flood risk with nature-based solutions.

"Our organizations are calling on the Corps to rise to the challenges that climate-induced flooding is creating and evolve to deliver holistic, equitable and long-term solutions. In our rapidly climate-changing world, the standard flood risk reduction operating procedures of the previous century no longer suffice,” said Natalie Snider, associate vice president of Climate Resilient Coasts and Watersheds at the Environmental Defense Fund. “The Corps must create a more flood resilient nation by preparing for tomorrow’s flood risks today, leveraging nature as a powerful tool for resilience and prioritizing those communities with the greatest needs.”

The signers include an array of coastal and riverine stakeholder groups, as well as individual experts, representing constituencies from across the country. The letter points to specific places where the Corps can evolve their current approaches to address climate-fueled flood risk with equitable, nature-based solutions.

“To combat our nation’s climate crisis, protect frontline communities, and preserve our vital infrastructure, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must be able to take holistic approaches to solutions,” said Cortney Koenig Worrall, President and CEO of the Waterfront Alliance. “Part of this action means planning and committing to solutions with long-term benefits, incorporating nature-based solutions into climate resilience plans, evaluating and reforming cost-benefit-ratio methods to adequately account for multiple benefits, and working closely with environmental justice communities for future planning.”

"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is a central player in our flood protection efforts," said Skip Stiles, executive director of the Wetlands Watch. "In the just-passed infrastructure bill, there is almost $12 billion more for their projects. This makes it essential that they take a broader and longer look at resilience, including social and economic impacts and focusing on nature-based solutions."