Subsidizing Danger and Killing Fish–It Ain’t Smart! Encouraging Building in Floodplains Is Dopey

Flooding happens when you build in floodplains. So why does the government pay people to do it? Photo credit: Washington DOT

Building in floodplains is very bad for salmon (and lots of other wildlife).  It takes away the habitat they need to survive.  And that is bad for people.  It also puts people in harm’s way when the floods come.  And in the Pacific Northwest, more floods are coming all the time because of changing weather patterns caused by climate change.

Unfortunately, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages construction in floodplains by offering artificially low-cost flood insurance.  They undercut the private insurance industry and spend our tax dollars to make it cheaper for businesses to build in places that destroy the Northwest’s ecology and fish.  It is plain and simple goofy. 

To read more or to hear NWF floodplains expert Dan Siemann discuss the issue in the state of Washington on the radio, check out this story.  Or see our webpage.  And if you are wondering whether this story applies to where you live: heck yes it does.  FEMA subsidizes construction in floodplains around the country even while the federal agencies charged with protecting the environment tell us it is a terrible idea.