Investments in shipbuilding and life extension will ensure the Navy reaches its 355-ship goal, says Rear Adm. William Galinis, head of the Navy's surface ship program. He says $100 billion in work has been committed to various programs, and 35 ships will be built.
The future USS Wichita will be delivered this year, having completed acceptance trials in Lake Michigan last week. The Wichita, the Navy's 13th littoral combat ship, and seven more LCS vessels are under production or being tested.
Hard construction solutions to preserve the nation's coastlines are beginning to yield to natural alternatives, including among individual seaside residents. Notable in this regard is Florida, where laxer permitting rules last year have led to the approval of 34 small living shorelines, most under 500 feet long.
Acting Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler is refraining from criticizing his predecessor, Scott Pruitt, but nonetheless is trying to restore relations with EPA employees, the press and Democrats. Although he's focusing anew on environmental and public health missions, Wheeler still plans to continue easing regulations on industries.
Rubber mats have been deployed for the second year to reduce sand dune erosion on Plum Island in Newburyport, Mass. The effects of the Mobi-Mats are still being evaluated, but city officials are concerned that residents who use wheelchairs cannot roll through sand and reach the mats.
A report by the Federal Emergency Management Agency cites staffing shortages and poor resource tracking among the reasons FEMA was unprepared for last year's devastating hurricane season. The performance shows that "governments need to be better prepared with their own supplies ... and to be ready for the financial implications of a disaster," FEMA Administrator Brock Long wrote in a letter with the report.
The substantial contribution that rain gardens have made to improving the waters of the Chesapeake Bay has inspired the Trinity School in Ellicott City, Md., to install a 9,903-square-foot bio-retention site. The school is considered an ideal site due to land availability and location, with the bio-retention expected to capture a little more than an inch of rainfall per storm.
Vermont is plagued with unintended and repeated releases from sewage treatment plants that will require substantial and costly upgrades to address a variety of contributing problems. A recent computer glitch, for example, resulted in 3 million gallons of partly infected wastewater flowing into Lake Champlain.
Native trees are to be planted along a mile-long stretch of the Kansas River near Lawrence, Kan., to help clean up its waters. Conservation group Friends of the Kaw will be using a $78,000 county grant for the project, which is designed to filter water that's entering the river and prevent erosion.
The aging Newell Creek Dam and Loch Lomond Reservoir in Santa Cruz, Calif., will undergo extensive improvements under a two-year, $50 million project. The work is part of a larger $300 million series of water system capital improvements under consideration in the next 10 years.