The Corps is now considering using sand dunes in place of levees in Texas because of their smaller environmental impact, the Houston Chronicle has reported. Thousands of homes flooded when the Army Corps deliberately released water from the reservoirs rather than risk potentially even more disastrous uncontrolled inundations.
One west Houston neighborhood known as the Energy Corridor still bears the scars but is searching for solutions. On a recent morning, builders worked on a new house on the north side of the bayou, its foundations elevated about six feet above ground, unlike its unfortunate older neighbors.
Opposite, two yellow excavators rumbled along neatly sloping banks, their back-up warning beeps audible over twittering birds. A few days prior there was a dense covering of sycamore and pine trees; now, razed trunks laid piled in the clearing.
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The flood-control district is slicing slivers of forest to fashion mostly-bare grassy slopes into a basin that will hold stormwater —although almost certainly not enough to prevent flooding if another Harvey hits, the district acknowledges. The detention project feels like a compromise between natural and artificial flood-control techniques. She is skeptical that a city that used concrete to conquer swamps, marshes, and prairies can learn to restore green spaces—or just leave them alone.
Tom Dart is a Houston-based freelance journalist. In rapidly gentrifying areas of Queens and Brooklyn, the new population is spurring a gradual desegregation of some New York City public schools. Is this a retreat from the open office or the next phase of it?
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Will ‘Gray’ or ‘Green’ Flood Infrastructure Protect Houston?
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Rude Mood Stevie Ray Vaughan. I'm Cryin' Stevie Ray Vaughan. Maybe scientists will find it's just a spasm of the awesome power imbued in the forces of our planet by nature, unrelated to the affairs of human beings. But these extreme events seem to crash into our lives more and more often now, where torrential rains drop inches of water in the space of an hour and overwhelm our cities and towns, drowning them before the meager drainage systems we've built can make any difference.
We saw it with Hurricane Harvey a couple years back, when the storm lingered over Texas and Louisiana and dropped 27 trillion gallons of water. We saw it this summer in New York City, when a storm unleashed three inches of rain on Brooklyn in an hour and sent flash floods rushing through the streets.
That was on the back of an extreme heat wave, and scientists say it was no coincidence.