RFF on the Issues

RFF on the Issues: Flooding in Texas

Jun 3, 2016 | Shannon Wulf Tregar

The Brazos River in Texas continues to flood surrounding areas, and storms throughout the state are expected to bring additional flooding in the coming days. The National Weather Service in Houston-Galveston has said that “the ground is saturated in a lot of places. . . . If we put 1 to 3 inches of rainfall an hour on top of that, it is only going to aggravate flooding.”

“Communities searching for ‘no regrets’ or ‘low regrets’ options for addressing [flooding] may be looking to green infrastructure as a solution,” according to RFF’s Carolyn Kousky, Sheila Olmstead, Margaret Walls, and Molly Macauley. In a study of the Lower Fox River basin in Wisconsin, they found that “restoring or preserving wetlands can lower flood damages because wetlands can be a natural sponge, absorbing floodwaters.” In a study of the Meramec River in Missouri, Kousky and Walls find that preserving the floodplain from development could reap significant economic benefits as well.

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