Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairman David Rouzer (R-NC-07) held a hearing to receive feedback from stakeholders across the nation as the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee prepares for the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2024. Stakeholders testified to the importance of maintaining a consistent two-year WRDA schedule to meet the water resources needs in communities nationwide.
Chairman Rouzer was proud to welcome Surf City Mayor Teresa Batts who provided testimony on the importance of WRDA in assisting with flood control, inland waterway navigation, coastal restoration, and beach renourishment as the Town continues to wait for approval for their overdue renourishment project. Click here to watch Mayor Teresa Batts' testimony.
Today’s hearing marks the second in a series of hearings this subcommittee is holding in preparation for the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2024. This past week, we heard from Assistant Secretary Connor and General Spellmon regarding the Administration’s priorities for WRDA 2024. Today, we have the opportunity to hear from stakeholders from across the nation who will testify to the importance of Army Corps Civil Works programs and maintaining a consistent two-year WRDA schedule.
WRDA is one of the most important pieces of legislation we work to draft and pass here in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and we are proud to do so regularly. Every two years since 2014, Congress has passed a bipartisan, consensus WRDA bill into law, helping communities across the country. I look forward to working once again with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to continue the important work and tradition of passing this bill every two years.
As I mentioned at last week’s hearing, WRDA is a critical legislative vehicle to meet the water resources needs in our communities nationwide. Reliable water navigation systems allow for the safe and efficient shipping of cargo, fueling our economy. Levees protect homes and businesses from flooding. Dams also provide flood control for communities, along with power and opportunities for recreation. Of particular importance to my constituents on the coast in North Carolina’s Seventh Congressional District, coastal restoration and nourishment projects mitigate erosion and damage from frequent coastal storms.
WRDA 2020 reauthorized the Coastal Storm Risk Management projects in Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach allowing these beaches to continue to receive renourishment. As sand naturally shifts over time, these coastal communities rely on a predictable renourishment cycle to ensure they can withstand storms. WRDA 2022 also provided authorization for investment in other erosion mitigation efforts, such as the Shoreline and Riverine Restoration in Southport, North Carolina, which will bolster the riverbank's resilience against damage from storms and vessel traffic.
To enhance flood mitigation efforts, it's important to have a clear understanding of the need. As such, the 2022 WRDA also authorized the National Coastal Mapping Program in North Carolina which will map inland and coastal waterways to identify factors that increase flood risk. I was pleased to see funding included in the 2024 Energy and Water Appropriations bill. I was also pleased to continue support of the Wilmington Harbor deepening project as authorized in WRDA 2020 to allow the Port of Wilmington to meet increasing demand. All of these efforts are critical parts of keeping Americans safe and allowing our nation’s economy to thrive, which is exactly what this legislation enables.
An important part of the WRDA process is the partnership between the federal government, non-federal partners, and stakeholders, who come together to solve local resource needs. I am glad to see today that we have a panel of witnesses made up of diverse interests and geographic areas. This panel can speak to water resource challenges as well as to solutions these WRDAs can provide.
I look forward to hearing from each of you here today on the importance of WRDA in assisting with flood control, inland waterway navigation, coastal restoration, beach renourishment, and ensuring safe movement of goods through maritime transportation.
I'd like to extend a very warm welcome to each of you, but in particular to a friend and constituent of mine, Mayor Teresa Batts of Surf City, North Carolina, with whom my staff and I have done a tremendous amount of work through the years as it relates to the needs of Surf City and the coastal area there.
Click here for more information from the hearing, including video and witness testimony.