On Dec. 10, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed S.612, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act” or the “WIIN Act” (also known as the Water Resource Development Act [WRDA]), which includes provisions to help protect, restore, and increase the resilience of U.S. coastlines. The bill passed the House 360-61 and the Senate 78-21.
“Sediment is a critical resource for building and restoring protective beach and dune systems and restoring coastal environments. S.612 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 (ASBPA).
“Supporting regional sediment management is just one way the WIIN Act helps coastal communities prepare for hurricanes and coastal storms. The WIIN also supports coastal resilience and sea level rise planning and tells the Corps of Engineers 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 Congress for acting in bipartisan fashion to address the country’s coastal challenges,” noted Bradley Watson, Director of Coastal Resilience at the Coastal States Organization (CSO). “It is important that water resources legislation is considered and acted on and each Congress is given its potential to address immediate and long term challenges facing our nation’s coasts” he concludes.
This WRDA authorized 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. They include:
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