How Homeowners Can Help Mitigate Flooding

The Seabrook Island Property Owners Association and the Club are responsible for maintaining and upgrading the island’s stormwater management system. However, property owners can also help mitigate the effects of flooding from storms and king tides.

Nature plays an important role in mitigating floods. When water from heavy rainstorms or king tides runs rapidly onto our roads, it can temporarily overload the stormwater drainage system and cause flooding that may restrict vehicle traffic. But by maintaining natural areas on our properties, we can slow runoff. There are nature-based solutions that lessen the rate of runoff and allow more of the water to soak into the ground while also allowing the remaining surface water to drain gradually after the storm or high tide has passed.

Some properties may be suitable for establishing a rain garden in low areas. A rain garden is a shallow basin made up of native perennials, shrubs, and flowers that collects and absorbs runoff. In addition to providing a level of flood mitigation, a rain garden can be aesthetically attractive and benefits our wildlife.

Natural woodlands have more water-absorbing capacity than lawns, so it helps to maintain as many native trees and shrubs, and as much natural ground cover as possible. Tree roots improve soil porosity and also soak up water, some of which then evaporates from the leaves. This process, called transpiration, continues to reduce stormwater stored in the soil long after a rainfall event ends. An additional benefit is the cooling effect of the tree canopy. 

Seabrook’s extensive wetlands play an important role as buffers and sponges to reduce flooding. Owners of marsh front properties can help maintain the quality of our wetlands by protecting the natural vegetation along the marsh edge.

Permeable surfaces improve infiltration and slow runoff. SIPOA limits the number of impervious surfaces permitted on a property. However, homeowners can use additional porous materials such as pervious concrete, interlocking pavers, or gravel for driveways to further slow runoff.

Before beginning any alterations on their property, homeowners should be sure they are in compliance with SIPOA policies and procedures.

For information about Seabrook Island Green Space Conservancy, click here.

-Submitted by Dick Wildermann, Seabrook Island Green Space Conservancy

(Image credit: Dick Wildermann at Montagu-Pollock residence)

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