Over the past few years river delta flooding has been a major issue in the United States. Katrina wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Ike has caused serious trauma throughout coastal Texas, and many other delta lowlands have undergone damaging flood periods in recent history, such as the Sacramento-San Joaquin river delta. Climate change will effect sea levels and global weather patterns meaning more frequent and severe flooding of these areas.
The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) is creating a land modeling plan to efficiently and economically handle the populations and infrastructure suffering from the impact of climate change. The long and short of it is...the next time these areas are destroyed, don't rebuild them.
The study conducted by the PPIC focused on policy issues pertaining to certain tracts of land in freshwater parts of the Sacramento-San Joaquin river delta. Since rescue and rehabilitation of these areas is quite costly, the driving force behind the policy decisions is saving taxpayer money. "In 2004, when a delta levee unexpectedly collapsed, the state and federal governments rushed in to repair it, spending more than $75 million. However, the effort protected land worth only $22 million." Experts from an array of fields, including civil engineering, climate science, economics, hydrology, and biology were consulted to formulate the plan of action for at risk lands.
Although it may seem like peoples lives and homes are being abandoned to save a dollar, overall everyone is losing by dumping money and resources into saving certain delta areas. The idea of "adjusting to new ecology" will save state taxpayers money, in the future will save people who would have inhabited these areas from great loss, and allows mother nature to reclaim wetlands that humans are struggling to keep as freshwater areas when the natural state is a mixture of fresh and salt waters.
The belief has been that we’re defending the environment by maintaining the freshwater system, but that is actually incompatible with giving the Delta’s native species and ecosystem a fighting chance to survive and prosper.