National Academy of Sciences Meets Flood Victims in Brazoria County, TX

We folks are making a huge difference in our communities by meeting with folks like this, who also care about our needs and our causes.
— Kevin McKinney, Flood Victims of Richwood

Brazoria County, TX: Kevin McKinney, leader of the Flood Victims of Richwood, TX, joined a roundtable convened by the National Academy of Sciences last week. Also at the roundtable were representatives from the American Red Cross, and the Salvation Army. Topics discussed were floodplain mapping, development in the floodplains, Lidar data, FEMA temporary housing, pre disaster mitigation funds, and buyouts.

Fill, Build and Flood: Dangerous Development in Flood-Prone Areas

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“You have unchecked development in the flood plain, combined with unprecedented storms and flooding. Too many people are one storm away from catastrophe.
— Harriet Festing

National: Several Higher ground members are quoted in this article on the practice of fill and build, including Ed Browne of Residents Against Flooding in Houston, TX, and Terri Straka of Rosewood Strong in Horry County, SC. Higher Ground’s director, Harriet Festing, is also quoted.

Charleston city councilman wants to stop fill-and-build development

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We used to be concerned that that (fill and build) was disturbing the wildlife and the marshes,” Dustan said. “Now we’re concerned that now it’s destroying our lives, our homes, and our houses.
— Phillip Dustan

CHARLESTON, SC: There was great coverage yesterday by Live 5 News (WCSC) on the move by Councilman Harry Griffin to put an end to fill-and-build development in the city. The ban will be discussed at tonights city council meeting. The article quotes Phil Dustan of Higher Ground member, Lowcountry Flooded States of America.

Help us Ban Fill and Build (+ Flood)

Politicians get elected by money.  If developers put in money, they get a seat at the table. They are down at City Hall all the time. But people like me can’t do that, because we have real jobs.
— Ed Browne, Residents Against Flooding

National: The practice of piling fill dirt on flood-prone land, then constructing housing or other developments on top, needs to be banned. This article published today in US News and World Report explains why. Fill and build is driven by money. Developers can charge a premium for homes near the water. And unbuilt land in the floodplain is cheaper—and more abundant—than on higher ground. These economic realities are driving a vast expansion of development in flood-prone areas. Between 2000 and 2016, the U.S. saw more development in floodplains than outside of them.

There is a major barrier to achieving reform: the powerful and wealthy lobby of developers and builders, who run PACs, fund political campaigns, hold political positions, hire lobbyists, and play golf with the politicians who make the decisions. 

Over the next few weeks and months, we'll highlight the stories of people impacted by fill and build developments, and the fights being played out across the country as residents seek to ban it at local level. Sign up to share your fill and build story, and to receive campaign updates.

Have you been impacted by fill and build developments? Please email separately your photos, drone footage, and other details to Harriet@AnthropoceneAlliance.org. We’ll aim to features these developments on our website.

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Flood prone developments continue despite Mayor's worthy words

Charleston, SC: Despite recent hurricanes, significant investment in the Dutch Dialogues (including a trip Netherlands in fall 2018) and worthy words by Mayor Tecklenburg on flooding and sea level rise, a major development is on the city agenda for approval.

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Dr Phil Dustan, member of Lowcountry Flooded States of America, describes the development as a moral hazard that will “put innocent buyers at risk, and threatens neighboring communities.”

The proposed 126-acre ‘River Run’ development on Johns Island will cut across lowland forests, marshlands and a major section of Burden Creek. Dr Dustan says that it “will be built on low land that is exposed to storm surge and rainwater flooding. It will block the flow of flood waters out of Burden Creek placing neighboring communities and much of the Burden Creek Basin at increased flood risk.  And it will add about 2270 vehicle trips per day to River Road.”

Residents have started a petition against the development: https://www.change.org/p/charleston-city-council-save-river-road-johns-island-sc-from-more-developement/u/25162758

Students and Residents get Trained by Scientists

Gulfport, MS. Scientists are helping residents and students in flood prone areas get trained on climate change, flooding and wetlands science, thanks to our partnership with the Thriving Earth Exchange of the American Geophysical Union. The scientists - Renee Collini, Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium; Chris Anderson, Auburn University; and Gianna Cothren, University of New Orleans - are working with Higher Ground member, EEECHO to help find solutions to flooding in the areas.

When Flood Survivors, an Attorney and Scientists Join Forces

Gulfport, MS: Residents in the communities of Forrest Heights and Turkey Creek, Gulfport, MS, are fighting a development on wetlands that risks worsening their existing flooding. Thanks to the leadership of the grassroots group, EEECHO, they have requested an evidentiary hearing to challenge the development. Anthropocene Alliance helped secure the pro bono scientific experts and an attorney to lead the work.