OUR OPINION: 'Nature bats last'
Today's editorial serves just one purpose: to call attention to Jessica Ludy's column, which is linked to this article. For if North Dakota ever is to solve its flooding problems, that solution very likely will resemble the one Ludy outlines here...
Today's editorial serves just one purpose: to call attention to Jessica Ludy's column, which is linked to this article.
For if North Dakota ever is to solve its flooding problems, that solution very likely will resemble the one Ludy outlines here. It involves making sure North Dakotans (and other Americans) understand, insure against and take steps to protect their homes against flooding, exactly as they do against fire and other risks.
Flood-risk professionals have been saying this for years, but thanks to a string of disasters, the message is getting through.
Here's another example: Larry Larson's recent column from the newsletter of the Association of State Floodplain Managers. Larson is the association's director, and here's an edited excerpt of what he had to say:
Consider "the hoopla surrounding the completion of the $14 billion Army Corps project to provide 100-year protection to New Orleans. ... The concern is that all the politicians and citizens in New Orleans are now 'safe.' Really?
"New Orleans is largely below sea level, is continuing to sink and is facing rising sea levels. In those conditions, 100-year protection means they will face more devastation in the future.
"It is important that those of us experts in this profession convey to the people of New Orleans that they are still at serious risk.
"What does all of this tell us? First of all, it reinforces that nature bats last. It also shows that in this nation, we manage for ordinary floods but not for extreme events, and those extreme events are happening with increased frequency. ...
"Those of us in the profession must never tell politicians or citizens that flood control structures make them 'safe,' or that a large flood will never happen again. As flood risk professionals our obligation is first, last, and always to public safety."
-- Tom Dennis for the Herald