Last week, the House of Representatives and the Senate committees with jurisdiction over funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers put out their proposals for fiscal year (FY) 2017 funding. Both the House and the Senate provided funding for shore protection in the Army Corps’ civil works construction budget, after it had been left out of the president’s budget. The House included $45 million and the Senate included $50 million. Both represent a slight increase over the $40 million for shore protection construction enacted in FY16, but significantly less than the $150+ million in project backlogs. These two appropriations bills will now get amended and voted on by the full House and Senate before being combined in a conference report.
Shore protection is the funding the Army Corps uses to build and maintain the beach and coastal dune systems that provide coastal communities protection of life and property from the hazards of living by the water, including storm surge, waves, and sea level rise. Shore protection also supports the national economy and provides ecological services – coastal shoreline counties contribute $6.9 trillion to our GDP (1) and coastal habitats including beaches, wetlands, and estuarine systems are some of the most ecologically productive and economically important on earth (2).
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Shore Protection program is a critical part of the nation’s coastal resilience,” said Derek Brockbank, executive director of American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA). “Maintaining beach and dune systems funded through the shore protection program reduces communities’ risk of damage from hurricanes, nor’easters and sea level rise. As we have seen with Hurricane Sandy and countless other storms, the cost of recovery is far greater than the cost of protection. Investing in shore protection is a wise fiscal move and the right thing to do protect our coastal communities.”