Army Corps Releases Coastal Flood Risk Management Plan

By DEEPTI HAJELA | January 30, 2015

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday issued a report saying that managing the flooding risk along the North Atlantic coast from events like Superstorm Sandy is something that has to be done collaboratively by all levels of government and the private sector.

The Corps issued a framework to help that collaboration as part of a two-year study covering 31,000 miles of coastline along the northeastern United States.

North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study. Image credit: Army Corps of Engineers
North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study. Image credit: Army Corps of Engineers

Joe Vietri, director of the Corps’ National Planning Center for Coastal Storm Risk Management, said, “We’re all going to have to make some tough choices as we move forward.”

The study assessed the states’ coastlines for vulnerabilities and offers some possible mitigation strategies, but doesn’t make any firm recommendations. It says those decisions should be made in collaboration.

The states included in the study were New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. The District of Columbia was also was included.

The study determined there are nine areas that warranted further study for their flood risk – the Rhode Island coastline; the Connecticut coastline; the New York-New Jersey Harbor and tributaries; the Back Bays of Nassau County in New York, as well as Back Bays in New Jersey; the Inland Bays and Bay Coast of Delaware; the cities of Baltimore and Norfolk, and the District of Columbia.

The study said there are a range of options that communities can look at, such as how floodplains are used and how evacuation plans are put together. They also must consider how much risk is acceptable.

The framework the Corps came up with has nine steps that include identifying stakeholders, setting goals, analyzing areas of vulnerability, figuring out solutions and implementing them, and monitoring how the plans are working and making adjustments as needed.

The Corps said the framework was one that could be used in all areas, no matter what their specific issues, and from the local to the state to the regional level.

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