Kentucky.
Green River in Kentucky. © Lynda Richardson

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Water Legislation Lets Nature Be Part of the Solution to Flooding

The Nature Conservancy released the following statement from Senior Water Policy Advisor Jimmy Hague after submitting stakeholder comments  on the Senate’s draft legislation for the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020, which guides the conservation, restoration and development of U.S. rivers, coastlines, harbors and waterways:

“We must tap the power of nature to protect communities from floods and other disasters. This water legislation gets us one step closer to harnessing the full potential of nature-based solutions to help people and the economy. However, there are still ways to improve the bill.

“The legislation continues Congress’ focus on using natural infrastructure to reduce the risks from flooding. These nature-based solutions will not only lessen flood impacts but will also restore ecosystems that benefit communities and boost local economies. Nature—such as reefs that break waves and wetlands that absorb floodwaters and buffer shorelines—can be our most effective line of defense against storms. We applaud the Senate for championing nature as a multi-benefit solution.

“The bill’s draft language responds favorably to several of The Nature Conservancy’s other priorities. For example, the draft legislation makes it easier for non-federal entities—such as conservation nonprofits—to partner with the Army Corps of Engineers to deliver projects on the ground and increases transparency into how the Army Corps will rebuild infrastructure following a flood.

“However, we are concerned that several provisions in the draft bill could lead to unnecessary environmental degradation. Two examples include promoting hydropower without adequate environmental sidebars and shifting mitigation responsibilities from project sponsors to taxpayers. We urge the Senate to revise those components with an eye toward protecting nature—and the people who depend on it—whenever possible.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.