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"Keeping vacant, flood-prone lands free of development could save taxpayers billions," writes Eli Chen, sharing the findings of new research published recently in the journal Nature Sustainability.
The study "found that every $1 spent acquiring undeveloped properties in the 100-year floodplain — which have a 1% chance of flooding in any given year — returns $5 that would be spent on emergency services, flood insurance claims and other flood damage costs if those properties became developed."
"As the number of people living in flood-prone regions like St. Louis is increasing, local governments should consider protecting undeveloped floodplain properties instead of building on them, said Barbara Charry, the floodplain and nature-based solutions strategy manager for the Nature Conservancy’s Missouri chapter."
To find solutions to the challenges of making that vision a reality, the Nature Conservancy is working with the Army Corps of Engineers "to develop a plan to improve floodplain management for the eight municipalities along the lower Meramec River," reports Chen.
Historic floods inundated the Mississippi River watershed during last year's rainy season.