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Jacksonville’s Approach to Reducing Flooding and Stormwater Runoff Using Green Infrastructure

Over the last several years, Florida has continued to experience more frequent and more intense storms that leave communities flooded and man-made systems overwhelmed by the heavy rainfall and storm surge. In 2022, there were 14 named storms that hit Florida’s coast with eight of those storms becoming hurricanes. Florida’s coastal cities were severely impacted by flooding and unimaginable property damage and loss of life from these storm surges. Many of these areas are still recovering today.

Coastal communities are especially susceptible to flooding with the recent increases in tropical storms and hurricanes that bring a large amount of rainfall over a short period of time. Storm surges in downtown areas, where there is a large amount of pavement and fewer natural barriers, are especially susceptible. Natural barriers help move stormwater out to a nearby waterway and reduce the likelihood of man-made drainage systems being overwhelmed, which causes damage to streets and buildings from the stormwater and leads to runoff into rivers and in turn, negatively impacts water quality in the area.

There are several approaches to use when cities look to reduce the impacts of flooding and stormwater runoff. The City of Jacksonville has begun investing in several green infrastructure projects that aim to address some of its flooding issues, especially in its downtown areas. Many of these projects include investing in natural areas, planting trees and greenery, and reducing paved surfaces. These investments help slow down rainfall and reduce the likelihood of overwhelming man-made drainage systems.

Florida TaxWatch undertakes this independent research to review how the City of Jacksonville’s green infrastructure initiatives affect flooding and stormwater runoff in the city. As heavy rainfall and hurricanes continue to impact Floridians, Florida TaxWatch considers whether utilizing natural barriers to build resiliency against flooding and stormwater runoff is a sound investment for other cities and their taxpayers.

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