American Rivers Statement on Hurricane Florence Flooding

September 21, 2018

Contact: Amy Kober, 503-708-1145, akober@americanrivers.org

In the wake of destruction brought by Hurricane Florence, American Rivers President Bob Irvin made the following statement:

“For the fourth year in a row, the Carolinas have been hit hard by devastating hurricanes and flooding. As a national conservation organization with offices in North Carolina and South Carolina, American Rivers joins with our friends and colleagues there in mourning those whose lives were lost and caring for those whose homes and businesses have been destroyed.

In particular, we recognize that communities of color are suffering disproportionately from the flood’s impacts and we stand with them in seeking to rectify the systemic inequities that have caused these impacts.

Our staff in the region are ready to assist Carolina communities with lasting river restoration and flood protection solutions as they clean up and rebuild.  We encourage all of our supporters to help our friends and neighbors in the Carolinas with relief efforts.”

American Rivers has extensive expertise on dam safety and floodplain restoration. American Rivers named the Neuse and Cape Fear Rivers among America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2017 because of the threat of animal waste stored in floodplains.

American Rivers staff in the Carolinas are available for media interviews:

Gerrit Jobsis, Senior Director, Rivers of Southern Appalachia and the Carolinas:803-771-7114, gjobsis@americanrivers.org

Peter Raabe, Conservation Director, Rivers of Southern Appalachia & the Carolinas: 919-682-3500, praabe@americanrivers.org

American Rivers experts can speak to solutions including:

Protect and restore floodplains: Naturally functioning floodplains store floodwaters and reduce downstream flooding. We need to take advantage of these natural defenses. See https://www.americanrivers.org/threats-solutions/restoring-damaged-rivers/benefits-of-restoring-floodplains/

Get people out of harm’s way: Poorly planned growth has allowed development in flood prone areas, putting people in harm’s way. We need to replace developed areas with green spaces that can absorb floodwaters and buffer communities from damages.

Relocate industrial livestock feedlots out of vulnerable floodplains.See America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2017 listing of Neuse and Cape Fear rivers: https://www.americanrivers.org/2017/06/neuse-cape-fear-floodplain-protection/

Strengthen state dam safety laws and programs: More than 100 failed dams over the past three years make it clear that our current standards, especially for earthen dams which are by far the most likely to fail, do not provide safety with the reality of today’s extreme flooding.

Remove dams that do not meet safety requirements: We cannot wait until dams fail to take action. Poorly maintained and improperly designed dams need to be removed to protect downstream communities and infrastructure before they fail. See https://www.americanrivers.org/2016/10/removing-dams-can-save-lives/

 


About American Rivers

American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects and an annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 275,000 members, supporters and volunteers.

Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Find your connections at AmericanRivers.orgFacebook.com/AmericanRivers and Twitter.com/AmericanRivers.