A flooding river is very hard to stop. Many residents of the UnitedStates have discovered this the hard way. Right now, over five millionAmericans hold flood insurance policies from the National FloodInsurance Program, which estimates that flooding causes at least sixbillion dollars in damages every year. Like rivers after a rainstorm,the financial costs are rising along with the toll on residents. Andthe worst is probably yet to come. Most scientists believe that globalclimate change will result in increases in flooding.The authors of this book present a straightforward argument: the timeto address adverse flood impacts is before theriver floods. Floodplain Management outlines a newparadigm for flood management, one that emphasizes cost-effective,long-term success by integrating physical and biological systems withour societal capabilities. It describes our present flood managementpractices, which are often based on dam or levee projects that do notincorporate the latest understandings about river processes. And itsuggests that a better solution is to work with the natural tendenciesof the river: retreat from the floodplain by preventing futuredevelopment (and sometimes even removing existing structures);accommodate the effects of floodwaters with building practices; andprotect assets with nonstructural measures if possible, and with largestructural projects only if absolutely necessary.
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