Yes. RIPE’s proposal helps with flooding by investing in farm practices that mitigate flooding and by compensating farmers fairly for those efforts. Farmers would be compensated for the value of their flood mitigation efforts when they adapt stewardship practices.
Flooding annually costs the United States $8 billion, according to the National Weather Service. Severe flooding events inundate agricultural fields, prevent and reduce crop plantings by millions of acres, and erode valuable topsoil from fields. RIPE supports compensating stewardship practices that help reduce these flood risks.
Practices likely to be compensated by RIPE’s proposal include cover crops, reduced tillage, rotational grazing, and silvopasture. All of these practices hold soil in place during flooding events, in turn preventing sedimentation in waterways and overland flow. Stewardship practices lessen the effects of flooding and reduces the amount of standing water on fields and pastures.
In addition, flooding pollutes waterways. Pesticides and fertilizers, carried as runoff, damage fishing and recreation, as well as aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity. RIPE supports nutrient management, which lowers the nitrogen and phosphorus applications to soil, to protect the health of neighboring waterways.
Furthermore, RIPE’s proposed federal fund could support riparian buffers, particularly wooded buffers, which may be the most effective agricultural tool for flood mitigation. Buffer plants stabilize streambanks, slow sediment-laden runoff, and absorb the pollutants attached. In fact, riparian buffers along the Missouri River were estimated to reduce damage by almost half during a large flood in 1993. Buffers absorb rainwater and restore groundwater levels, while slowing runoff release, thereby reducing the intensity and frequency of flooding events.