Flood Protection and Erosion Control


Flood Protection

Floods killed over five hundred people and destroyed $33 billion in homes and property between the years 1996 and 2000. States with the greatest loss of life and homes are Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, California, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota. These are states that have allowed between 80 and 91 percent of their wetlands to be destroyed.

Wetlands, left in place, act as sponges, soaking up hundreds of thousands of gallons of storm water per acre. When wetlands are drained, filled, and developed with homes, businesses, farms, and highways, the area cannot contain the same amount of storm water as before the development. The result is frequent flooding, and costly damages to property owners.


Who picks up the tab? Property owners bear the brunt of the immediate hardship and costs, but in the final analysis, all taxpayers share in the overall cost of cleanups and repairs.

Erosion Control

The force of rushing storm water tears soil away from stream banks in a process called "erosion". The soil that is eroded from stream banks (sediment) becomes trapped in the rushing water as it continues downstream. When this rushing water and its sediment load reach a wetland, its velocity is greatly reduced, because wetlands are usually wide and flat, and because the wetland plants hold soil in place. As a result of the reduction of water velocity, properties adjacent to, and downstream from, wetlands suffer considerably less loss of property due to erosion.


After wetlands have been drained, filled and developed, the resulting loss of their erosion control function can be expected to affect taxpayers. Many states, finally recognizing the value of having wetlands to control erosion, are spending huge amounts of taxpayers dollars to restore them. Other states, such as Minnesota, where wetlands are being drained at an average rate of 5,000 acres a year, are spending an estimated $1.5 million (taxpayer money) annually to offset the loss of the erosion control function that had been formerly provided by these wetlands.




PO Box 333. Folcroft PA 19032-0333. (215) 365-3118. Email: Info@friendsofheinzrefuge.org