The value of wetlands and marshes in slowing and absorbing storm surge is well known, but Professor Siddarth Narayan of East Carolina University’s Department of Coastal Studies says policy makers need to be convinced to take action and invest in nature-based solutions. The work of Professor Narayan and other scientists brings hope that the value of wetlands will receive the spotlight it deserves.
After Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast of the U.S. in 2012, Professor Narayan worked with the insurance industry to calculate the benefits of marshes along the coast and according to the models they developed, wetlands prevented $625 million in damages.
Work by engineers, planners and policy makers with organizations such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows that using nature-based solutions that protect the environment and allow coastal wetlands and marshes to protect us needs to receive funding and action in our changing climate.
For a story on action being taken locally to preserve and protect the wetlands at Roaches Run, search John Kelly’s column in the Washington Post published September 11-12.
When we visit stream, river, lake or pond shorelines or explore wetlands in our area, can we think about what actions we can take to protect and preserve them so that the plants, grasses and reeds, as well as the birds, aquatic life, insects and other mammals can do their work to protect us and all of creation?
Pope Francis reminds us that we cannot care for each other without caring for our common home. In Laudato Si’ (#8), he says: “stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands; for human beings to contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life – these are sins”.