Compounded by sea level rise and stronger and more frequent storms, lives and infrastructure in coastal communities are increasingly at risk for flooding and wind driven destruction from events like super storm Sandy. Battle for the Barriers explores adaptation strategies and projects in coastal states along the Eastern US seaboard designed to help safeguard the people, wildlife and properties in these storm and flood prone areas.
In the absence of Federal policy to address climate change, state-based organizations, both public and private, seek to protect beaches, dunes and wetlands--the first line of defense along the coastlines and inland waterways in harm's way. As solutions are hopefully developed to reduce our carbon footprint, protecting these natural barriers is critical to preventing new catastrophic loss from storm events and encroaching sea level rise. It is a battle further complicated by ongoing development fueled by the promise of Federal subsidy in the event of disaster.
The Coastal Barrier Resources Act was co-authored by former Representative Tom Evan Delaware and the late Senator John Chafee of Rhode Island in 1982, and signed by none other than Ronald Reagan. Despite saving billions of dollars in tax subsidies since that time, powerful interests continuously try to chip away at protected coastal areas in order to release lands now sheltered by COBRA for new development, qualifying for Federal Flood Insurance.
This is high drama, set against a backdrop of sea level rise and increasingly powerful storm events. It is a story that needs to be told because once these natural lands are developed, they're gone--until that is a Super Storm washes away the risky infrastructure and We The People get to subsidize the loss. Battle for the Barriers looks at the islands, dunes and wetlands that buffer our shores...and the some of the adaptation projects now underway to strengthen and protect these valuable natural barriers.