“Managed Retreat” from Floods Not Popular

Would you rebuild your home outside of a flood zone?
May 8, 2018

Would you rebuild your home outside of a flood zone? A new experiment in what’s being called “managed retreat” isn’t going so well.

Sidney, N.Y., has become part of a new experiment in how the United States could protect itself. Rather than rebuild homes where the Susquehanna River has flooded two times in the last five years, town officials and residents agreed to use federal and state money to demolish the affected neighborhoods and create new ones outside the flood plains for displaced residents. This is a change from efforts to reduce losses through elevated homes and building more barriers to protect homes and cities, such as levees and seawalls.

However, Sidney has yet to remove more than a few dozen homes from the flood plain or break ground on land away from the river. This could illustrate how unprepared the United States is politically, financially, and emotionally to re-create even a single community away from rising waters in an organized way, while preserving some semblance of its character and history.


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