Washington, D.C. – Last week, U.S. Representative Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08) introduced H.R. 6677, the Seawall Expansion Act, which would expand the National Levee Database by amending its qualifications for inclusion and increase access to federal funding to help strengthen coastal barriers.  The National Levee Database only contains embankments defined as levees, and the Seawall Expansion Act would amend the requirements to allow hard and soft infrastructure that act as a coastal barrier to be included as well. This expansion of the National Levee Database would make federal funding more accessible to coastal communities to help repair and enhance their shoreline barriers to decrease beach erosion and damage from climate change.

“Coastal barriers such as seawalls and beach dunes are critical to protecting our coastline and keeping residents, businesses and our environment safe,” said Rep. Lynch. “They need consistent maintenance to ensure they remain secure, which requires cities and towns like Hull, Hingham, Weymouth, Quincy and Boston, to seek federal funding to help keep them updated. The National Levee database is just that, a list of levees, and it is often used as a source for the distribution of federal funding. The Seawall Expansion Act would ensure coastal barriers everywhere, made of hard and soft infrastructure, would be included in the National Levee database and subsequently make it easier to receive federal funding and assistance from the Army Corps of Engineers.”

The National Levee Database maintains a list of our nation’s levees and includes their attributes relevant to flood fighting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, repair, and inspection. The Levee Safety Program uses this database to ensure the structures are safe, reducing flood risk to people, businesses, and the environment. The Seawall Expansion Act would adjust the National Levee Databank to include hard infrastructures such as seawalls, jetties, breakwaters and floodwalls, and soft infrastructures such as beaches, dunes and coastal banks.