New Guidelines Issued on Nature-Based Solutions for Flood Risk Management

Valley lake surrounded by forest-covered mountains

November 1, 2021

U.S. Army of Corps of Engineers & international partners identify critical components of successful projects

On September 16, the U.S. Army of Corps of Engineers, in coordination with national and international environmental groups and agencies, issued International Guidelines on Natural and Nature-Based Features for Flood Risk Management, which represents a global assemblage of best scientific practices for using natural and nature-based features (NNBF) to manage flood risk in a variety of ecosystems. The new NNBF Guidelines inform the process of conceptualizing, planning, designing, engineering, and operating flood risk management (FRM) systems that include NNBF. The guidelines are targeted to practitioners, organizations, and communities seeking to increase the performance of FRM systems, increase water infrastructure resilience and sustainability, reduce infrastructure maintenance costs, and increase the value produced by FRM infrastructure investments.

Flooding and erosion affect vulnerable communities around the globe, causing thousands of deaths each year and enormous economic losses resulting from infrastructure damage. Actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems (also called nature-based solutions) are among the most cost-effective ways to protect against flooding. In addition to reducing disaster risk and building resilience, nature‑based solutions can provide other economic, environmental, and social benefits known as co‑benefits, which are particularly important for businesses to consider when developing SMART sustainability goals. For these reasons, nature‑based solutions have been increasingly used to build community resilience and manage flood risk.

How Exponent Can Help

Exponent is a recognized and trusted engineering and scientific consulting firm that has, for more than 50 years, supported clients in addressing their most pressing interdisciplinary and technologically complex business challenges. Today, as companies rapidly pivot operations and corporate culture to effectively meet sustainability goals in response to changing climate conditions, evolving stakeholder expectations, and advancing technology, Exponent applies its scientific and engineering expertise to help our clients transition operations for the future. With expertise in sustainability and ecological services assessment and quantification, Exponent can help clients evaluate and quantify the multiple benefits of incorporating NNBF into flood risk management and other sustainability projects.