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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has long worked to manage waterways and protect communities from flooding. Historically, it did so by relying on manmade structures like levees and dams.

But the Corps has also started investing in nature-based solutions to provide protection from rising seas and increasingly extreme weather.

“So moving away from, say, a traditional levee system or a flood wall to look for opportunities where nature can offer the same level of engineering protection and reduced risk,” says Jeffrey King of the Army Corps’ Engineering with Nature program.

In Florida, New Jersey, and elsewhere, the agency is using dredged sediment to reestablish dunes and replenish beaches. He says it can help protect coastal communities from rising seas and storm surge.

And along the Missouri river, the Corps is partnering on a project to move a levee so that it’s set farther back from the river, giving the river more room to expand.

That will provide wildlife habitat and reduce flood risk to nearby areas.

“So in many ways, we look to nature to offer us opportunities to increase resilience,” King says.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media