Back in 2017 Hurricane Irma exposed various areas vulnerable to flooding in the Santa Fe basin including local areas close to OSFR headquarters. In October of 2017 OSFR board member Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson organized a meeting at Rum 138 enabling flood victims, some of whom were still unable to occupy their homes weeks after the storm, to have direct contact with water district staff.
At that meeting many flood risks were identified. We do not know how many of these areas have been addressed since 2017, but hopefully these funds may assist needed improvements.
DISTRICT AWARDED FUNDS TO ANALYZE FLOOD RISK IN THE SANTA FE AND WITHLACOOCHEE BASIN
LIVE OAK, FLA., Nov. 5, 2020 – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awarded a $2 million grant to the Suwannee River Water Management District (District) for flood protection improvements within the Santa Fe and Withlacoochee basins. As a cooperating technical partner, the District is assisting with the coordination of FEMA’s Risk Mapping, Assessment and Planning (Risk MAP) program.
“We are continuously analyzing flood risks within the 15-county area we serve,” said Hugh Thomas, executive director for the District. “Identifying key areas where flood potential is high allows us to better inform and protect the residents and businesses living and working there. This funding from FEMA will go a long way in helping to better serve our vulnerable areas while protecting public property and natural resources.”
Flood risk can change over time due to new development, weather patterns and other factors. This grant will update flood maps which will involve collecting map risk data, assessing present and future risks, planning for risk and reducing (or mitigating) risk of potential flooding.
The flood studies will help property owners in all flood-prone areas in the Santa Fe and Withlacoochee watersheds by improving flood elevation estimates and estimating flood depth. The studies will also provide a total flood-risk estimate over the 30-year life of a mortgage for properties.
The grant includes developing new flood risk models and maps by using the latest available LiDAR to define the topography. Improved modeling techniques will also be used to determine the flood risk. New models can display detailed information across the watersheds, which includes the impacts of localized flooding and major river flooding.
The areas that will be analyzed within the Santa Fe Basin include portions of Union, Bradford, Columbia, Gilchrist, Alachua, Baker and Suwannee counties. Portions of Madison and Hamilton counties will also be reviewed for flood risks within the Withlacoochee Basin.
The mission of the Suwannee River Water Management District is to protect and manage water resources using science-based solutions to support natural systems and the needs of the public. The District holds true to the belief of water for nature, water for people. Headquartered in Live Oak, Florida, the District serves 15 surrounding north-central Florida counties.