A levee replacement project near the small town of Hamilton City is breaking ground as the first project that the US Army Corps of Engineers has approved based in part on potential benefits to an ecosystem. “We’ve been told this will be a national model once it’s completed,” says Lee Ann Grigsby of Hamilton City. The levee, whose original construction failed to meet modern standards, had needed to be fixed for a long time: recent estimates gave it only a 66% of withstanding a 10-year flood scenario. In 2002, new Army Corps guidelines permitted ecosystem benefits to be taken into the accounting of costs and benefits. Today, one section of the levee has been completed and restoration of the newly created floodplain began this May.
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