Flooding, dam scare underscore need for investment in water infrastructure, dam safety, river restoration

September 3, 2021

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

Hurricane Ida’s heavy winds and rain brought destruction to the Gulf Coast on August 29 and days later, communities across the Northeast were devastated by flooding in the hurricane’s path. Dozens of people lost their lives in the floodwaters. Three thousand people in Johnstown, Pennsylvania had to evacuate Wednesday due to the threat of failure at Wilmore Dam on the Little Conemaugh River.

Brian Graber, senior director of river restoration at American Rivers, made the following statement:

“It is heartbreaking to see the damage from Hurricane Ida and our thoughts are with everyone who has been impacted by the flooding.

We must protect communities in the face of increasingly severe floods fueled by climate change. Hurricane Ida is yet another wake-up call. We urgently need solutions that are equitable, nature-based, and resilient in the face of climate change.

Congress has an opportunity in the infrastructure bill and reconciliation package to take important steps to protect public safety. This includes giving rivers and floodways more room to keep people out of harm’s way and improving urban stormwater management. It also includes investing in dam safety and dam removal to improve public safety and enhance the ability of rivers to carry and absorb floodwaters. Many aging dams are ticking time bombs, and dam failure can cause tremendous loss to life and property.

We urge Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Schumer to make investment in dam safety, river restoration and water infrastructure a top priority in the infrastructure and reconciliation efforts.”Flooding, dam scare underscore need for investment in water infrastructure, dam safety, river restorationWe urge Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Schumer to make investment in dam safety, river restoration and water infrastructure a top priority in the infrastructure and reconciliation efforts.”

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