“Wetlands act as natural sponges and where you don’t have wetlands you have quicker and more deadly floods,” Brett Hulsey, senior Mid-West Sierra Club representative, told edie. Hulsey is based in Wisconsin where 23 presidentially-declared flood disasters have occurred since 1965.

Using Army Corps of Engineers’ data, the Sierra Club argues that 99% of applications to drain and develop wetlands were approved in the period 1988 and 1996.

Sierra Club plans to publish reports on the threat of flooding posed by wetland loss for all US states. Its research shows that 120,000 acres of wetlands are being lost in the US each year. In south east Wisconsin, where Milwaukee is located, 94,000 acres of wetlands have been destroyed. Hulsey asserts that the destruction has resulted in a loss of 90 billion gallons of flood storage.

The Army Corps of Engineers is the federal agency that approves wetlands development proposals. “The Army Corps used to ignore us,” says Hulsey. “They don’t anymore.”

Sierra Club’s Solutions to Sprawl report will be published in October.

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