05/07/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/07/2021 17:49
Excerpts from 'Reflections on Earth Day 2021: Preparing for Future Needs,' a third in a series of messages from the US Army Corps of Engineers commemorating Earth Day and USACE's enduring environmental mission. - Written by Mr. Eric Bush, Acting Planning and Policy Division Chief, USACE Headquarters.
On behalf of the USACE Planning and Policy Division, Happy 51st Earth Day! I am old enough to say that I remember the first Earth Day as a kid in Ohio. Cleveland's Cuyahoga River caught fire (again!) in 1969 because of uncontrolled pollution and that helped catalyze national awareness of the need to protect the water we drink and the air we breathe for current and future generations. I think we can draw a straight line from that event and the first Earth Day in 1970 to passage of the National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Air and Clean Water acts, Endangered Species Act, Fish and Wildlife Protection Act, and the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which provides for protection and management of our marine fisheries. These and other federal laws are the legal bulwark providing the environmental protections we have come to depend on and take for granted.
With the legal framework, policies, agency procedures, and best practices developed over the years since that first Earth Day, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has evolved to become a true global leader when it comes to incorporating environmental science and sound engineering and construction based on environmental considerations into the planning and development of all our projects across all programs.
There are many ways we are doing that now, but I will highlight a few here:
I will also add that the passage of the 2020 Water Resources Development Act and our new elected and appointed officials are providing increased emphasis on things like Engineering With Nature and incorporating natural features into our projects, beneficial uses of dredged material, evaluating climate change and adaptation alternatives, and environmental justice considerations. This is one of the great things about working for USACE - our mission is constantly evolving to address the mistakes of the past and to prepare for future needs! Essayons!
Check out a few examples of the work IWR does:
The Hawaii, California, and Lake Michigan reports have already been published by IWR, and the Lakes Superior and Huron reports are due to be released any day now.