Army Corps: Climate Change Could Devastate Ohio River Region

The agency's report shows that inland-dwellers are just as likely as coastal types to be deeply affected by climate change.
December 2, 2017, 11am PST | Katharine Jose
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Nat Chittamai

Although those in the federal government who are critical of the science behind climate change have not retreated, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers just released a comprehensive report “intended to help the 27 million people who live in 2,400 urban and rural communities across 204,000 square miles understand that the Ohio River and its tributaries will not escape climate disruption.”

James Bruggers, a reporter for The Courier-Journal of Louisville outlines major findings:

"► Increasingly potent storms will cause river levels to surge, risking major floods in low-lying cities like Louisville.

 More frequent and heavy droughts will likely dramatically reduce river volumes in some spots, putting in jeopardy drinking water supplies, barge traffic and power generation that relies on abundant water.

 Rising temperates and wild swings in river flows threaten to wipe out fish and other aquatic life.

 Economic losses could be ten times or more greater than from any other resource-based threats from the past."

Flooding in the Ohio River Valley, as well as heroic efforts to prevent it, is nothing new to the region. But the urgent tone of the report is worth noting. Brugger writes:

“The study concludes that the most dramatic effects are likely two decades away. But changes are happening more quickly than previously thought, and the time to start bracing for ‘a new normal’ and making plans to adapt is now.”

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Published on Saturday, December 30, 2017 in The Courier-Journal
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