Saturday September 02, 2017
Harvey reminds cities their wetlands are worth money too
more stories from this episode
- Harvey reminds cities their wetlands are worth money too
- Is Canada prepared for a Hurricane Harvey disaster?
- A flooded Houston weather forecaster on the future of his city
- To save endangered caribou, shoot a moose
- Whales are learning to dodge deafening military sonar
- One minute of exercise a day can keep you healthy
- Quirks Question: Why does my tummy hurt when I'm nervous or scared?
- Full Episode
How do you calculate the cost of a disaster the size of Hurricane Harvey?
You could add up the price of rebuilding Houston into the boom town it had become, but in many cases that prosperity was tied to development. That development of wetlands in particular is being blamed for some of the severity of the storm damage.
So as the flood waters begin to recede, a better question might be, what is the cost of not building? Should we begin to look to nature's solutions - instead of infrastructure - to cope with the next 500 year storm?
Dr. Michael Beck is the lead marine scientist for The Nature Conservancy and an adjunct Professor in Ocean Sciences at the University of California Santa Cruz. He is also a coauthor of a new paper that looks at the value of wetlands in reducing flood damage.
Dr. Beck and his colleagues found that during Hurricane Sandy, which hit the American east coast in 2012, wetlands were able to act as a buffer, decreasing the intensity of surging sea water. Where flooding did occur, wetlands were able to absorb a lot of the water remaining — something concrete can't do.