Saturday, July 25, 2015

GAO Report Sees Climate Risks to Army Corps Projects

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shoreline rehabilitation project in Keansburg, N.J. (Credit: Army Corps of Engineers/flickr) Click to Enlarge.
Thousands of dams, levees, hurricane barriers and flood walls built across the country by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may be at risk from extreme weather and sea level rise driven by climate change, but the Army Corps has only just begun to assess how vulnerable they are and suffers from a lack of funding, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report.

The Army Corps may not be the most prominent of federal government agencies, but the dams, levees and other infrastructure it builds, critical to the lives of millions, can be seen everywhere across the United States, often keeping rising waters away from low-lying communities.

Army Corps-built hurricane barriers, tide gates and flood walls helped protect Northeastern communities during Hurricane Sandy.  In New Orleans, levees and flood walls meant to keep the city from flooding in a hurricane were built and, after Hurricane Katrina, rehabilitated by the Army Corps.

But the GAO concludes that many Army Corps projects — most of them built more than 50 years ago — are highly vulnerable to extreme weather and sea level rise brought about by climate change.  Many coastal areas are expected to see between two and seven feet of sea level rise by the end of the century, and the Army Corps doesn’t know if many of its projects could fail in a warming world.  New projects, however, are required to be built with climate change adaptation in mind.

Read more at GAO Report Sees Climate Risks to Army Corps Projects

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