New study of storm and flooding mitigation recommendations released today
As Katrina anniversary nears, conservation groups share study of 'nonstructural measures'
Emily Guidry Schatzel
As Hurricane Katrina's ninth anniversary approaches this week, a new study released today provides key recommendations to assist coastal residents and businesses in building safe and more resilient communities.
The report, entitled "Achieving Resilience in Coastal Communities: Resources and Recommendations," is the culmination of a year-long study of coastal Louisiana's tools, projects and attitudes toward "nonstructural measures" that can mitigate flood risk and reduce the impacts of storm surge. Nonstructural measures include a wide array of activities, including evacuation, home elevation, flood proofing of buildings, flood insurance, planning and zoning and storm proofing critical public facilities. The study was sponsored by National Wildlife Federation as part of the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition and was conducted and led by Dr. Alessandra Jerolleman, executive director for the National Hazard Mitigation Association.
"This is one of the most comprehensive studies to date on nonstructural measures and will greatly benefit not only Louisiana’s coastal communities, but also coastal areas across the country in their preparation for future storms and floodwaters," said Dr. Jerolleman. "With disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy wreaking havoc on coastal communities and costing national and local economies billions of dollars, implementing nonstructural measures can make a substantial difference by reducing the impacts of storm surge and flooding."
The report includes an introduction to nonstructural measures and the status of implementing the measures in Louisiana to mitigate coastal flooding as well as the impacts nonstructural measures have on local emergency planning efforts. It also provides residents, businesses and local communities with best practices based on national case studies that highlight successful implementation of nonstructural measures with an emphasis on creating resilient communities for the future.
"Our coastal communities are so important for regional and national economies," said Maura Wood, senior partnership manager for National Wildlife Federation, who worked on the report. "Building and maintaining resilient communities takes collaboration and cooperation at all levels. This report gives examples of how residents and governments have worked together to make communities resilient. The Katrina anniversary reminds us that nonstructural measures are a proven and important part of making coastal residents safer."