Elected officials catch much of the blame for the failure to have protections in place, but Deanna Moran, director of environmental planning for the Conservation Law Foundation in Boston, said that’s not entirely fair.
“It’s not the just city or state leadership, we also need leadership from developers,” Moran said. “Some of the easiest things we can do is leverage the system we already have.” For example, she said, developments could include lush gardens that suck up rain in soil rather than allowing it to run into streets.
Moran also envisions building wetlands in huge open spaces to capture invading water. “We operate under the notion of sea walls and hardening surfaces, but there’s nothing we can do to completely keep the water out. We have to adapt to let the water in when we have storms like this” and sponge it into the earth.
Boston-area and state officials deserve credit for talking things through, but “at this point these kinds of storms are very much foreseeable,” Moran said. “What we’re doing today is acknowledging the risk and talking about what we need to do to prepare, but we’ve done little.”
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