Corps may buy out coastal Miss. towns, encourage residents to move inland
The Army Corps of Engineers is seeking support from three coastal Mississippi counties for a proposal to buy out 17,000 homes and encourage residents to move inland. The Corps generally reserves buyouts for areas prone to river flooding; the new proposal is an indication that the U.S. may be seriously considering the risk of sea-level rise, coastal erosion, and stronger hurricanes. Intentions of safety aside, resistance to the voluntary project is high. “The whole concept of trying to remove people and properties from the coast is very, very challenging,” says Susan Rees of the Corps. “The desire to live by the water is strong.” Also strong: the ire of residents who rebuilt their homes after Hurricane Katrina, only to learn that the government was considering turning their neighborhood into wetlands. The Corps hopes to present its plan, which also includes restoration of barrier islands and other flood-protection measures, at the end of the year for congressional approval.