Ports & Terminals

Growing flood threat to US infrastructure: First Street

A new report “The 3rd National Risk Assessment: Infrastructure on the Brink”, found that there is a growing risk of flooding and major disruptions to U.S. infrastructure.

The report produced by the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based First Street Foundation found:

Over the next 30 years, “due to the impacts of climate change, an additional 1.2 million residential properties, 66,000 commercial properties, 63,000 miles of roads, 6,100 pieces of social infrastructure (schools, churches, government buildings, etc.) and 2,000 pieces of critical infrastructure (ports, fire stations, etc.) will also have flood risk that would render them inoperable, inaccessible, or impassable.”

Roughly 25%, or 1 in 4 of all critical infrastructure in the country are at risk of becoming inoperable, which represents roughly 36,000 facilities.

In addition, “23% of all road segments in the country (nearly 2 million miles of road), are at risk of becoming impassable.”

Additionally, 20% of all commercial properties (919,000), 17% of all social infrastructure facilities (72,000), and 14% of all residential properties (12.4 million) also have operational risk.

The highest concentration of community risk exists in Louisiana, Florida, Kentucky, and West Virginia, with 17 of the top 20 most at-risk counties in the U.S. (85%).

Louisiana accounts for 6 of the top 20 most at-risk counties (30%) and is home to the most at-risk county in the country, Cameron Parish.

In the United States, “many infrastructure discussions over the past 20 years have been centered around possible physical attacks, energy crises, and terrorism, but climate change has a higher probability of significant impact on the Nation’s infrastructure.”

More recently the report said: “the impact of Hurricane Ida stretched across the country crippling the electrical grid in southern Louisiana, flooding the transportation infrastructure in the NYC (New York City) metro area, and killing nearly 100 people. It is clear, now more than ever, that the ways and places in which we live are likely to continue to be impacted by our changing environment. One of the most important implications in this development is the vulnerability of our national infrastructure.”

Responses by Infrastructure Specialists

In response to growing threats to infrastructure, the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) and the Propeller Club of Northern California (PCNC) will hold “The Storms, Flooding & Sea Level Defense” conference virtually on November 3rd to hear reports from the following:

• Aimee Andres, Executive Director, Inland Rivers, Ports and Terminals, Inc. “Impact & Response to Chronic Flooding on Mississippi & Inland River Ports”

• Derek Chow, Deputy Director, Hawaii State Harbor Division, “Proposed Lock and Dam System to Protect Honolulu Harbor from Sea Level Rise”

• Meri Davlasheridze, Assistant Professor, Department of Marine Sciences, Texas A&M University at Galveston, “Update on the Texas Coastal Spine Project”

• Kathryn Roscoe, Senior Flood Risk and Adaptation Specialist, Deltares, “Cascading Impacts of Flooded Infrastructure: Broward County, Florida”

• Mark Wingate, Deputy District Engineer for Project Management, New Orleans District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, “Report on New Orleans Storm Surge Barrier: Resiliency After Hurricane Ida”

• Rudy Simoneaux, Engineering Chief at Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), “CPRA Master Plan to Address Flooding and Land Loss Coastwide”

• Vera Konings, Flood Risk Advisor, Municipality of Rotterdam, “Regional Flood Risk Management Strategy for the Rotterdam Region – urban areas and port”

• Jamie Lescinski, Business Development Director, Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V., “Global Dredging: Best Practices Enhance Beneficial Use, Productivity & Reduced Cost”

For more information about the SAME/Propeller Club November 3rd conference, contact SAME coordinator Arvind Acharya: [email protected]

Stas Margaronis
Stas Margaronis


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