An NPR article shed light on the pressing issue of flooding in California, discussing how Engineering With Nature® principles are playing a vital role in mitigating the risks. The state has been grappling with complex and compounding factors, including record-breaking precipitation, aging flood infrastructure, and development encroaching on natural floodplains.
The article emphasized the Engineering With Nature practice of “setting back” levees or relocating them further away from rivers to create more space for floodwaters. By giving rivers more space, levee setbacks offer multiple benefits. Not only can they reduce flood levels upstream and downstream from the setback, but they also provide valuable wildlife habitat.
However, space, especially water-side space, is often at a premium, and relocating landowners comes with its own host of difficulties. The US Army Corps of Engineers and other stakeholders are now exploring ways to include the economic costs and benefits but also social and environmental benefits in their analysis. Learn more about the Comprehensive Benefits Evaluation for Nature-Based Solutions.
For those interested in delving deeper into the water management dynamics of the region, visit the EWN On the Road travel blog, The California Swing by Todd Bridges. The blog posts include visits to Dos Rios and Pajaro, both of which were mentioned in the NPR article.
Engineering With Nature continues to gain traction as a proactive approach to address infrastructure challenges while considering the social and economic implications. As flood risks persist and intensify, incorporating nature-based solutions such as levee setbacks can prove pivotal in building resilience against future flood events in California and beyond.
Read the full NPR Article by Lauren Sommer, California is still at risk of flooding. Maybe rivers just need some space