Flooding is a coast to coast threat in the United States in all territories in all months of the year. It is a serious natural disaster that should not be taken lightly. Floods are caused by many different factors. The nations annual flood damages have grown in the past few years exceeding six billion dollars a year. Communities have begun building dams, levees, etc to try to control flooding. Unfortunately these mitigation systems have also destroyed the floodplains and wetlands. Organic matter is captured behind the dams. It begins to rot and create methane gas. People are forced to move in order to build these dams. They have nowhere to go. Dams are also incredibly expensive to build. The World Bank finances these projects but yet the dams are not a solution to our problems at all.
Giving at least some floodplain back to a river will give the river more room to spread out. Furthermore, wetlands act as natural sponges, storing and slowly releasing floodwaters after peak flood flows have passed. A single acre of wetland, saturated to a depth of one foot, will retain 330,000 gallons of water enough to flood thirteen average-sized homes thigh-deep. Floodplains and wetlands serve as natural filters, absorbing nutrients and other pollutants from water and making rivers healthier for swimming, drinking, and fishing.
Our job is to work together to save our natural floodplains and wetlands. We need to try educating decision makers about the value and importance of natural flood protection, and by advancing new federal polices and strategies that will promote the use of natural flood protection as the best option. Wetlands and floodplains support numerous animal lives which is the mainstay of the nation’s fisheries industry. Seasonally flooded wetlands are some of the most biologically productive ecosystems in the world. More than one-third of federally threatened and endangered species live only in wetlands, and up to 43 percent of them rely directly or indirectly on wetlands for their survival.
– Kimberly Shaw