Growing Returns

Florida has plans to address coastal flooding, but they lack natural solutions

Florida is home to pristine beaches, diverse and exotic wildlife, and unparalleled natural landscapes. This environment drives the state’s booming tourism industry — approximately 131 million tourists visited Florida in 2019 and the state’s beaches alone produce an estimated $50 billion in travel and tourism annually.

But flooding from sea level rise and hurricanes increasingly threatens the safety of Florida’s residents, environment and economy.

First Street Foundation estimates over 1.8 million Florida properties are at risk of flooding, with that number increasing to nearly 2.2 million by 2050. Read More »

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Experts warn of a more active hurricane season. We need more wetlands, fast.

Hurricane season is just around the corner, but experts are already predicting an above-average season.

Researchers at Colorado State University and meteorologists at Accuweather each released predictions indicating that the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season could be cause for concern with the potential for up to nine hurricanes and an “above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States.”

Adding additional concern, water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico are currently extremely warm, creating a recipe for intensifying storms. Read More »

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The Mississippi River is America’s trade artery. It’s time to make it more resilient to climate change.

After 2019’s unprecedented flood, the Mississippi River is rising again, causing anxiety for those living and working in its path. While impacted communities and fisheries received much attention, people have been less aware of the impacts to another critical industry: navigation.

Last year, in a first, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) opened the Bonnet Carré Spillway, a flood protection structure north of New Orleans that helps protect downriver communities, twice in the same year. It was also the first time the Corps opened the spillway in back-to-back years, providing a much-needed safety valve during one of the wettest periods in more than a century.  

These extreme conditions are occurring more frequently and greatly impacting the navigation industry and the economy. Decision-makers at the state and federal level must prioritize solutions that can help the navigation industry become more resilient on the Mississippi River. Read More »

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