Natural Defenses in Action

America’s communities are already using natural defenses to avoid or reduce hazard risks from flooding, coastal storms, erosion, and wildfire, but much more can and must be done to anticipate and reduce climate risks and disaster impacts. This report lays out a number of recommendations for expanding the use of these practices in the areas policy reform, targeted research, and development of best practices.

This report from NWF highlights how local communities are putting natural defenses to work. Examples from around the U.S. include:

  • Discouraging risky development on Alabama’s barrier islands
  • Keeping pace with rising tides around San Francisco Bay
  • Bringing back the bayou in coastal Louisiana
  • Partnering with beavers to reduce flooding in Oregon
  • Moving out of floodplains along the Mississippi
  • Managing floodplains for extremes of wet and dry in California’s Central Valley
  • Creating living shorelines in the Mid-Atlantic
  • Managing forests to break the fire-flood cycle in Flagstaff, Arizona
  • Protecting dunes and other natural features in Cape May, New Jersey
  • Using native vegetation to stabilize Great Lakes shorelines
  • Linking ecosystem and community resilience in coastal Massachusetts
  • Blending green and grey infrastructure in New York City’s Jamaica Bay