Connecting the Dots: Floodplain (Mis)Management, And National Legislation

Big Midwest Storms Typically Seen Every 20 Years Projected to Happen Every 4 to 6 Years

07-10-2008 // NWF Media Team

"As so many grapple with catastrophic flooding in the central United States, our thoughts and prayers are with those in harm's way," said Dr. Amanda Staudt, climate scientist, National Wildlife Federation.

"The big picture is that global warming is making tragedies like these more frequent and more intense," Dr. Staudt said. "Global warming is happening now. Our dependency on fossil fuels like oil and coal is causing the problem, and people and wildlife are witnessing the effects."

Heavy Rainfall and Increased Flooding Risk: Global Warming's Wake-Up Call for the Central United States details:

  • Increasing Frequency of Heavy Rainfall Events
  • How Floodplain Projects Can Exacerbate Severe Flooding
  • Two 500-Year Floods in Just 15 Years
  • Getting Ready for Stormy Weather Ahead: Reducing the Risk of Major Floods

People in the Central United States are not imagining things. The last few decades have brought more heavy summer rainfall events along with increased likelihood of devastating floods. While no single storm or flood can be attributed directly to global warming, changing climate conditions are at least partly responsible for past trends. Because warmer air can hold more moisture, global warming is expected to bring more and heavier precipitation in the years to come.

At the same time, the losses from major floods have been compounded by over-reliance on levees and other strategies for taming rivers, which in turn encourage development in flood-prone areas.

The increased frequency of extreme weather events across the country forces us to confront the realities of global warming and look toward a cleaner energy future. We must discourage development in flood-prone areas and protect the natural systems that help to buffer against floods, both for people and for the wildlife that depend upon them. And, we must aggressively move to reduce global warming pollution to ensure that we avoid the worst impacts.

National Wildlife Federation is America's conservation organization inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children's future.

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