Report: Natural Climate Change Mitigation Would Benefit Texas
Friday, June 5, 2020
HOUSTON - Texas is set to receive a significant chunk of money this year from the federal government to repair damage from Hurricane Harvey and multiple years of flooding, and a new report says much of it should be invested in natural and nature-based solutions.
Jessie Ritter is the director of water and coastal resources policy at the National Wildlife Federation, and an author of a new report that shows when weather and climate-driven hazard events occur, natural infrastructure has proven just as effective - and sometimes, more effective - than traditional infrastructure.
"When I say natural infrastructure, I mean natural features in the environment, like wetlands and healthy flood plains, restored beaches and sand dunes, oyster reefs and coral reefs," says Ritter. "All of those things would fall into the bucket of natural systems."
Texans along the Gulf are monitoring Tropical Storm Cristobal, which has the potential to cause destruction.
One natural infrastructure project that has proven effective is a 200 acre reclaimed urban wetland near Houston that was formerly an abandoned golf course. Frank Weary, chairman of Exploration Green, says the storm-water detention project there acted as a sponge during Hurricane Harvey, protecting residents and homes from potentially deadly flooding.
"The area has now become, instead of being storm-water detention with some amenities, it's now almost become a wildlife preserve with storm-water detention," says Weary.
Ritter says Texas will soon receive four-point-three billion dollars in federal money in response to Hurricane Harvey and three years of flooding, creating a timely opportunity to implement forward-looking nature-based mitigation activities.
"So we're hopeful that there will be some creative and strategic thinking on the ground about how we can take this enormous funding opportunity before the state and invest in these natural systems," says Ritter.
Hurricane season began on June 1, making this the sixth year in a row Texas has seen a major storm approach prior to June 1.
get more stories like this via email
Parents' rights groups are praising a plan to extend paid sick leave for many California workers, which is now on a fast track to pass. Gov…
Changes to a student-loan program for public-service employees is transforming the lives of Montanans who had their debts forgiven. In October…
Health and Wellness
When the Pueblo Community Health Center opened its 14,000 square-foot facility in 2003, Pueblo's east side, home to mostly minority residents…
Minnesota is building on efforts to meet the needs of its growing population of older adults, now becoming the 10th state to join AARP's network of …
The past year saw American workers reassessing their jobs. However, those shifts did not result in higher union membership at the national level…
This summer, a key initiative to boost school meal access during the pandemic will expire. In North Dakota, those working at the community level say …
New research suggests Earth's Sixth Mass Extinction event, on par with the one that ended the age of dinosaurs, already is under way. Noah Greenwald…
As local municipalities consider ways to use an influx of funds from the American Rescue Plan, some communities see it as an opportunity to support …