On Wednesday, the U.S. House passed H.R. 5303, the Water Resource Development Act (WRDA), which includes a number of provisions to help protect, restore, and increase the resilience of U.S. coastlines. The House and Senate will now go to conference with H.R. 5303 and S. 2848, the Senate’s WRDA, to craft a final bill to send to the President’s desk.
“Sediment is a critical resource for building and restoring protective beach and dune systems and restoring coastal environments. H.R. 5303 establishes an important pilot program that would allow coastal communities, states and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to beneficially use dredged sediment,” said Derek Brockbank, Executive Director of American Shore & Beach Preservation Association. “Supporting Regional Sediment Management is just one way WRDA helps coastal communities prepare for hurricanes and coastal storms. WRDA also supports regional planning and tells the Army Corps to assess the ability of natural and nature-based features – such as beaches, dunes and wetlands – to reduce flood risk.”
“The Coastal States organization commends the House for working in bipartisan fashion to advance the WRDA during this Congress,” comments Bradley Watson, Director of Coastal Resilience at the Coastal States Organization. “It is important that this legislation is considered each Congress, and this year’s bill shows the value of our nation’s coasts with important provisions regarding the beneficial use of dredged material, state and federal planning coordination within a regional context, and the use of natural and nature-based features for coastal protection” he concludes.
This WRDA authorizes 27 water infrastructure projects, including seven hurricane and storm damage risk reduction projects on the coasts of South Carolina, Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, Louisiana and California, as well as other coastal and inland flood risk reduction and environmental restoration projects.
In addition to authorizing projects, WRDA also establishes a number of policies and authorizes studies to help improve coastal resilience across the country. Some of these include:
Derek Brockbank, ASBPA Executive Director – (202) 827-4246 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Bradley Watson, CSO Counsel and Director of Coastal Resilience – (202) 508-3844 or email@example.com
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ASBPA Executive Director Derek Brockbank is available at (202) 827-4246 for comment, interviews or background.