When it comes to safeguarding Florida communities, it frequently involves monitoring situations that aren’t in plain sight. This is the case with stormwater systems, an interconnected network of ponds, pipes, and overflow structures that prevent communities from flooding. These systems are responsible for conveying runoff away from homes, streets, and parking lots. If these highways for water become impaired with grass clippings, sediment, or algae, neighborhoods, and homes are likely to flood.
Who Manages the Stormwater System?
Community associations should continually monitor their storm water systems to prevent catastrophic consequences during hurricane season. Ensuring these structures are clean should be part of an ongoing stormwater system management program. Some signs that the drainage systems aren’t working properly include:
⦁ Water stays on streets longer than usual following heavy rains
⦁ Slow water flow into storm water drains
⦁ Water higher than usual in lakes, ponds, or canals
⦁ Holes or depressions forming near ponds banks or stormwater structures
The bottom line is that water will always go somewhere. If your storm water system is not properly maintained and serviced, the result could be devastating flooding or shoreline erosion.
How to Control Stormwater Runoff
Now with Florida’s hurricane season rapidly approaching, many community associations, golf courses, and municipalities are still reeling from the flooding and dangerous shoreline erosion that resulted from last year’s vicious storms throughout Florida, the Gulf Coast states, and Texas. It appears as though this erosion will be more the norm than the exception in the coming years. In recent weeks, we’ve seen cities along the New England coast battered by “Nor‘easters” shattering sea walls, leaving towns unprotected. Likewise, forest fires in California have destroyed trees and root systems resulting in massive mudslides and severe erosion.
While we can’t predict when these natural disasters will occur, we can take precautions to minimize damage in the event of a storm. In addition, it’s important to repair these shorelines with a variety of cost-effective measures.
Stormwater Runoff Solutions in Florida
First, let’s take a look at the effects of storms and the accompanying water-level fluctuations causing erosion:
1. Homes are flooding as backyards erode into waterways. Some homes are even sinking into them.
2. Once-stable land along waterways is collapsing, creating dangerous conditions for people accustomed to walking in their backyards or around waterways. Likewise, the collapsed land is unsafe for maintenance and landscape workers using heavy equipment.
3. Many of these situations are magnified along golf courses where many injuries have occurred to players and workers.
4. In many cases, cable and electrical lines are left exposed resulting in costly repairs to cities and community associations.
Solution for Shoreline Erosion
Now is the time for Florida associations, golf courses, and municipalities to assess the damage wreaked by last year’s hurricanes. It’s important to take a look at shorelines from the water to assess actual damage. From this vantage point, you’ll likely see how water has encroached under the turf, a condition which also can result in burrowing animals (otters, fish, etc.) causing further de-stabilization of the land.
As concern for the environment increases, there have also been several innovations which are aesthetically pleasing, environmentally friendly, and quite affordable. These alternatives are increasingly being considered as some municipalities have banned seawalls as being too intrusive and expensive to replace.
SOX Solution for Eroded Shorelines
Because of the complexity of the process and inefficiencies of some products, many associations, municipalities, and golf courses are turning to the SOX solution which involves installing a flexible knitted mesh erosion control system along the eroded shorelines.
Once installed, the mesh is filled with of locally sourced fill, topsoil, compost material and/or dredged sediment. It is then anchored with its patented sub-surface finish. The banks are then planted with sod, landscaping, and other desired vegetation which quickly take root through the mesh.
Within days of installation residents of community associations have a safe place to stroll and not have to worry about falling on collapsed land. The threat of flooding is also eliminated.
The benefits of restoring shorelines are vast. For example:
· Newly sodded and restored shorelines serve as a filter, preventing excess phosphates and nitrates from entering the waterways. This, in turn, provides better habitats for fish and wildlife
· From an aesthetic standpoint, these waterways are now able to sustain vibrant, native plant life which offers better views than collapsed land filled with mud and algae
· Once installed, these products actually save municipalities, associations, and golf courses significant money because they are long-lasting solutions
· This product can be “re-tensioned” whenever necessary to achieve desired slope
Waterfront property has great value and those in charge of maintenance should accept the inevitability of shoreline erosion. Property management firms, association directors, and golf course superintendents are advised to maintain these shorelines with the same care and vigilance that is exercised with other amenities.
Lake & Wetland Management™ has been serving the environment throughout Florida for over 28 years. We are a full-service environmental resource company serving homeowners associations, community development districts, municipalities, golf courses and more. For more information, contact Lake & Wetland at 855-888-5253.