Living in a beachside community has its benefits and drawbacks. While Gulfportians get to enjoy the water and all the activities that come with it, paradise doesn’t come without some important issues to consider.
At the Oct. 17 Gulfport City Council meeting, Justin Keller from Advanced Engineering and Design presented Council with information about a vulnerability assessment and watershed management plan.
Vulnerability Versus Watershed Management
Keller began his presentation by providing the differences between a vulnerability assessment and a watershed management plan.
A vulnerability assessment looks at the impacts of severe weather events; it also includes a list of a city’s critical assets. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has guidelines for these assessments.
Currently, Gulfport’s assessment is in the inventory stage, as Advanced Engineering and Design puts together that list of critical assets.
The watershed management plan will look at Gulfport’s watershed.
This plan finds gaps in data that was previously collected to create a concrete idea of the needs of the watershed. The data includes factors like elevation, land usage, and soil type; using this information allows scientists to understand watershed quality. Both of these are what Keller described as “living documents,” because they can change.
Looking to the Future
According to Keller, Hurricane Idalia caused the second highest level of flooding recorded in St. Petersburg. Studies done by NOAA show the strength of hurricanes in the Atlantic is increasing, and will continue to increase. Because of this, Keller recommends that the City should update these documents every 10 years.
“If the data is out there, we’re going to review it and either use it, or provide a reason why we won’t use it,” said Keller.
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