Participate in flood map discussions

Dear Editor:

March is the month during which Bradford County has historically experienced the second highest number of flooding events.  We have an opportunity to see how a new flooding risk assessment identifies areas of flood risk. The Suwannee River Water Management District will be making a presentation about a new Flood Risk Assessment Study from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Feb. 21 in the county commission chambers.  

If you are new to Bradford County, it is important to find out from your neighbors if their property or apartments flooded during Irma in 2017.  If you were here during Irma and had flooding, it is important to look at the new flood zone to see if your property is in a flood zone.

Bradford County has a complex dug drainage system that began to be installed almost as early as the county was settled. Major drainage projects occurred from the late 1880s until 1920, during the depression and the Camp Blanding boom, during reforestation efforts after World War II, and after Hurricane Dora in 1964.  The lack of maintenance of this drainage system can cause localized flooding that may not have been noted in the Flood Risk Assessment. 

If your property flooded, but is not in a flood zone, it may be important to find out why it is not in a flood zone.  If your property flooding is being caused by blockages in the drainage system, removing those blockages may help reduce your chances of flooding.  These blockages range from something as simple as a crushed or blocked culvert to very complex sediment deposits and blockages caused by trees across a creek or drainage canal.  You can sometimes see the sediment deposits and tree and limb blockages from bridges and culvert under roads. It is important to report blockages to Bradford County Emergency Management so a plan can be developed to address the blockage. If your property has a blockage, or if you see a blockage while hunting, it is also important to report blockage. 

It may not be possible to eliminate all flooding impacts but, with a good plan for drainage system maintenance, the severity and duration of a flooding events should be reduced. Trying to do the maintenance during or after a major rain event may not be the best approach to Bradford County flooding.  Email me at [email protected] or call me at 904- 368-0291 for more information or to share your concerns or observations.


Paul Still

Bradford Environmental Forum