American Rivers Announces a New Director of Flood Management Policy
Shana Udvardy will advocate for 21st century solutions to create resilient communitiesJanuary 25th, 2010
Caitlin Jennings, 202-243-7023
Washington, DC — American Rivers announced today that it has hired a new Director of Flood Management Policy: Shana Udvardy.
Udvardy will work with Members of Congress, relevant government agencies, and other decision-makers to advocate for 21st Century solutions to flood control to increase natural resilience against flood disasters. The director will focus on the Mississippi River basin and coordinate with American Rivers’ field efforts in California, the Mid-Atlantic, and the Pacific Northwest.
“We are delighted to have such a talented professional as Shana joining our team,” said Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers. “This hire shows our commitment to implementing cost-effective strategies for managing floods, strategies that work with nature, instead of against it.”
While levees and dams may still make sense in some situations, these antiquated solutions to flood control are expensive and ineffective: despite continued investment in these structures, the nation’s annual flood damages continue to grow and now exceed $6 billion a year. Conversely, natural flood management is less expensive, sustainable, and more effective. By protecting and restoring wetlands and floodplains, we provide rivers the room they need to accommodate flood waters.. Furthermore, wetlands act as natural sponges, storing and slowly releasing floodwaters after peak flood flows have passed. A single acre of wetland, saturated to a depth of one foot, will retain 330,000 gallons of water — an amount that would otherwise flood 13 average-sized homes thigh-deep. Coastal wetlands also reduce storm surges and protect communities.
“I am thrilled to join such a respected conservation organization that has made significant achievements in advocating for people, wildlife, and our rivers,” said Shana Udvardy, Director of Flood Management Policy at American Rivers. “I look forward to helping create policies that will make our communities more resilient to floods, which is especially important now as our changing climate creates more frequent and intense storms.”
Prior to joining American Rivers, Udvardy worked at the Georgia Conservancy as their Water Program Manager where she advocated the establishment of a comprehensive statewide water plan for Georgia, aggressive water conservation, and enough clean water for all Georgians. She also previously worked for the Monitoring and Assessment of Biodiversity program at the Smithsonian Institution and for the Peace Corps, where she trained Nicaraguan farmers in soil and water conservation practices.
Udvardy earned a Master of Science in Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development Program from the Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia, and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Political Science at Syracuse University.