PALATKA, Fla., May 28, 2021 — While the start of hurricane season is just days away, the St. Johns River Water Management District works year-round to address resiliency through its core missions — water supply, water quality, flood protection and enhancement of natural systems — and through cost-share project funding with local partners.
“The District has been focused on flood protection and adaptive water management for decades — we just recently started using the term resiliency to describe those functions within our mission,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “Resiliency efforts for our communities, our state and our nation are becoming ever more visible. Florida’s residents and economy must have resilient communities, which is why it is a part of our day-to-day District work.”
Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from disasters and to adapt to future conditions such as sea-level rise. Resilience relies on planning for future scenarios, analyzing data and risks, and then adapting accordingly.
While hurricane season officially begins June 1, water is a year-round focus for the District, so the agency’s flood protection mission is a natural fit. With resilience in mind, the District partners on shovel-ready stormwater/flood protection projects designed to reduce flooding risks and improve water quality through its cost-share programs with local governments.
Examples include retrofitting of stormwater outfalls with tidal backflow prevention valves, such as a project at St. Augustine’s Davis Shores community to retrofit stormwater outfalls to help alleviate flooding during storms; reconstruction of weirs; construction of watershed management collection and stormwater treatment systems; and stormwater management system expansion and reconstruction.
The District’s Real Estate and Land Management programs protect and strengthen natural infrastructure to help mitigate events such as wildfire, flooding and sea-level rise. This work includes restoration of historic wetlands for floodwater storage in the Upper St. Johns River, wetlands and floodplains restoration in Nassau County, and aiding local governments working to convert septic systems to central sewer systems.
District permitting staff also play an important part in flood protection through their work to ensure storm water is managed on developed sites and that new drainage ditches or significant changes to existing ditches are coordinated regionally. The District and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection issue permits to install stormwater systems, which typically then become the legal responsibility of a homeowners’ association or property management company.
Property owners also have a vital role in preparing for hurricane season, which officially runs through Nov. 30. You can protect yourself and your property by:
To assist homeowners, the District’s web pages (www.sjrwmd.com/storm) include links to flood statements and warnings, river stage and flooding data, and local government emergency contacts. Links to the National Weather Service, Florida Division of Emergency Management and the U.S. Geological Survey’s interactive map of current conditions in the state are also available via the website at www.sjrwmd.com/data.
Know who to call when impacted by a storm by visiting www.sjrwmd.com/localgovernments/flooding/#state-national.