Today Boston was named one of the top communities for protecting clean water and the public health with green solutions. The report by American Rivers comes at a time when congress is debating sections of a climate bill that will help communities prepare for natural disasters including waterborne diseases and droughts.
“We are at a transformational moment for our nation’s rivers and water infrastructure, and Boston is forging the path to a healthier, more secure future” said Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers.
To prevent floods and water damage to the city, Boston followed a plan drafted by the Army Corps of Engineers to purchase and preserve about 8,000 acres of wetlands along the upper Charles River. Instead of building an extensive system of levees, dams, and plumbling, the city was able to protect itself from future flooding and protect a very diverse ecosystem at the same time.
These are the hallmarks of green solutions, and in an economy where state budgets are tighter than ever, these measures add up to saving close to $40 million in flood damage every year. Considering that rebuilding New Orleans’ levees had a price tag of around $10 billion, purchasing a little bit of land seems like a really good deal.
The American Rivers group stresses that preserving floodplains, grasslands, and forests is one of the most cost-effective solutions to preventing flooding and protecting environments to recharge the rivers and aquifers that supply our drinking water, and here in Boston, we seem to be doing our part.
And just to think not that long ago we where pumping straight sewage into the harbor. I’m glad we are on the right track now.