Storm-ravaged states are investing more of their own money into the cost of flood recovery and control, according to an Associated Press report. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) pays for the lion's share of infrastructure repair costs after a natural disaster, but many states are looking to supplement those funds, especially when it comes to resiliency.
Most recently, Iowa, which experienced devastating flooding this year, has invested $15 million toward helping local governments fix flood damage and prepare for future flood events. Missouri spent $2 million to help buy a movable flood wall; Arkansas has invested $10 million toward levee repair and replacement; and, in Texas, voters will decide in November whether to approve a special fund dedicated to flood control projects with a pool kicked off with $793 million from state savings.
The AP has estimated that 23 states are facing a total of $1.2 billion of infrastructure damage and at least $170 million of cleanup and emergency response costs for storms, floods and tornadoes that occurred just in the first half of 2019 alone. In addition, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has recorded approximately 250 levee breaches this year and estimates that repair costs could exceed $1 billion in the heavily hit Missouri River basin.
The Army Corps plays a big role in the development of flood control strategies and has turned to public-private partnerships (P3s) to achieve its goals in that area of construction. Work recently restarted on a $2.8 billion Army Corps flood control P3, the first ever for the agency, in the Fargo, North Dakota, and Moorhead, Minnesota, metropolitan area. The project was halted for about a year because of permitting issues, but crews are now making progress on the construction of a concrete control structure with three gates that will regulate flows into a 20-cubic-foot diversion channel, which will be the responsibility of the Army Corps' future P3 partner.
The Army Corps, in partnership with the state of New York, is also building a 5.3-mile, $615 million seawall along the southern shoreline of Staten Island. The federal government is contributing $400 million, while New York City is investing $65 million and the state is kicking in $151 billion. Work on the project will include:
- 4.5 miles of buried seawall
- 0.6-mile levee gate
- 0.35 miles of floodwalls
- 180 acres of ponding areas
- 46 acres of tidal wetlands
- 300 acres of natural water storage
As a result of Superstorm Sandy in 2012, 80% of structures in what will eventually be the seawall's protected area sustained flood damage.