The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jenny Hoffner, Water Supply Program Director (Atlanta, GA), 404-373-3602
Gerrit Jobsis, Southeast Regional Director (Columbia, SC), 803-771-7114
Amy Kober, Communications director, 206-898-3864

From Drought to Deluge: American Rivers Responds to Extreme Southeast Weather

ATLANTA, Georgia

Floodwaters overwhelmed parts of the
Southeast this week, killing eight people and destroying property
throughout the region. The floods came as the region was getting over a
historic two-year drought. American Rivers urged officials to act
swiftly to help the flood victims and released a set of broad
recommendations to help protect communities from future floods and
increasingly volatile weather.

"Our hearts go out to the families and communities of
the Southeast who have lost loved ones and have seen their homes
damaged or destroyed by floodwaters," said Rebecca Wodder, president of
American Rivers.

"First the drought, now the deluge. Unfortunately,
this kind of extreme weather is becoming more and more common, and
communities need new 21st century solutions to protect public health
and safety," added Wodder.

In a new report titled "Natural Security: how
sustainable water strategies are preparing communities for a changing
climate," American Rivers outlines how innovative "green
infrastructure" solutions can help communities get ready for more
frequent and intense floods and droughts, and protect clean water,
health, and public safety. The three overarching recommendations in
"Natural Security" are:

  1. Protect healthy landscapes, like forests and small
    streams, that naturally filter and maintain clean water supplies and
    absorb floodwaters.
  2. Restore degraded landscapes like floodplains and wetlands so
    they can better store flood waters and replenish streams and aquifers
    during times of drought.
  3. Repair water systems in urban settings relying on green
    approaches to capture and use water more wisely, and prevent stormwater
    and sewage pollution.

The report highlights communities like Boston, MA,
that protected wetlands along the Charles River and as a result saves
$40 million in flood damage every year. Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin moved
49 homes and businesses out of the floodplain to higher ground, and now
enjoys better protection from floods. On the water-saving front, the
report spotlights how Clayton County, GA beat the drought with an
innovative water recycling program.

"When dealing with the crisis of a flood or drought,
officials are faced with the question of how to prevent such a disaster
in the future. Our hope is that decision makers will choose 21st
century solutions like floodplain restoration and water efficiency that
are more cost-effective, flexible and reliable, and deliver multiple
benefits to communities in the long run," said Wodder.

"While we can't prevent floods, we can prevent a lot
of future damage and devastation if we start making the right decisions
today," said Wodder.

To view the Natural Security report, visit

To learn about American Rivers' flood protection efforts, visit

American Rivers is the only national organization standing up for healthy rivers so our communities can thrive. Through national advocacy, innovative solutions and our growing network of strategic partners, we protect and promote our rivers as valuable assets that are vital to our health, safety and quality of life. Founded in 1973, American Rivers has more than 65,000 members and supporters nationwide, with offices in Washington, DC and the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, California and Northwest regions.