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NextGen Magazine


U.S. Coral Reefs Provide $1.8 Billion in Flood Prevention, Says Study

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Apr 16, 2021

While you may not be able to put a price on nature, a recent study says you can put a price on the flood protection provided by nature, at least in the case of coral reefs along coastal property: $1.8 billion per year, according to Bloomberg. Especially valuable are reefs in Hawaii, which are said to contribute $154.3 million in protection each year alone. The study used computer modeling to predict storms and flooding along coastal areas, and the damage that would be caused without coral reefs there to break up the waves.

As reefs degrade amid climate change, this protection will diminish; the study, published in Nature Sustainability and conducted by the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the U.S. Geological Survey, estimated that if the average height of coral reefs shrank by just one meter, the number of properties in severe flood zones would increase by 23 percent, the number of people affected by annual floods would increase by 62 percent, and the projected damages would rise by $5.3 billion.