As the United States weathers our worst hurricane season in years, and communities in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Island and the Atlantic seaboard try to recover, ASBPA is working to ensure that beaches, dunes, wetlands and coastal resilience are included in whatever emergency funding bill Congress develops. Most of the destruction from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Jose was from wind and rain, rather than storm surge and wave action, but beaches and dunes were impacted.
Measurements are still coming in, but we are seeing that coastal projects did their job – where beaches were wide and dunes were high, damages to property and public infrastructure was minimal. ASBPA will be advocating for funding to restore all coastal projects destroyed or significantly eroded in the hurricanes of 2017 to be rebuilt at least to the level they were at before the storm, and ideally with modifications that improve the resilience of the project. We will also advocate for funding to build the authorized but unfunded and unbuilt projects that left communities vulnerable to these storms and to the next storm, which might be even more destructive.
Finally we will be advocating for increased understanding and preparation for the next storm. The 2016 WIIN Act authorized a “South Atlantic Coastal Study” that identifies the risks and vulnerabilities of coastal areas from Mississippi to North Carolina and the Caribbean Territories “to increased hurricane and storm damage as a result of sea level rise.” But the study has not been funded – ASBPA would like to see a 2017 Hurricane supplemental funding bill fully fund this study (much like the Hurricane Sandy supplemental bill funded the North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study).
We would also like to see coastal and hurricane research funded in a supplemental bill. As devastating as the hurricanes were, good modeling and forecasting based on coastal research saved lives and facilitated coastal risk management projects that reduced impacts. With sea level rise and increasing storm intensity projected in the coming years, Congress needs to invest in coastal research, data collection and modelling to prepare communities for the next storm.
As Congress develops emergency hurricane legislation, ASBPA will be working to make sure it includes:
See our Letter to Congress, sent joint by ASBPA and FSBPA:
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ABOUT ASBPA: Founded in 1926, the ASBPA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that advocates for healthy coastlines by promoting the integration of science, policies and actions that maintain, protect and enhance the coasts of America. For more information on ASBPA, go to www.asbpa.org, Facebook or www.twitter.com/asbpa. This information is provided by the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association. For information, to change your email address or to unsubscribe from this list, contact us at email@example.com. A complete collection of Beach News Service articles is available for media access online at https://asbpa.org/news/newsroom_beachnews.htm.