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Experts say flood study is going to transform the way St. Augustine does business for the next 50 years

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study aims to find flooding solutions for St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — In the past, many studies have been done regarding flooding issues in St. Augustine.

But one study, starting this week, could be the biggest study ever done in the Old City (and it could bring the most money.)

Repeated flooding to people’s homes, businesses, and the threat to cultural resources have prompted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to study St. Augustine's flooding problems and come up with solutions.

Why St. Augustine? 

"I think it's what’s of national interest. this is the nation’s oldest city," said St. Augustine’s Chief Resilience Officer Jessica Beach. She says it’s a three year, $3 million study.

"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the horsepower and the technical expertise to do a pretty sophisticated modeling," Beach said. 

To start with, the study will evaluate everything inside the city limits, and then narrow it down. For example, what can be done to provide protection by the fort and the historic district near it?

“This is going to transform the way the city looks and does business over the next 50 years or so," Beach said. "It could be a higher flood wall, or pump stations, or a nature-based solution that can be incorporated with it."

The study will take different aspects into consideration such as aesthetics, cultural resources, socio-economic issues, recreation, and endangered species.

Solutions could vary, but possibilities include relocation, acquisitions, elevating and doing drainage improvements.

Other historic low-lying cities have already gone through this kind of study, such as Charleston and Miami-Dade County. 

Beyond the big picture scope, this Army Corps of Engineers study could bring big money from the federal government.

"These are your billion-dollar ticket construction projects," Beach noted. "These are the large projects the city could not afford another way shape or form."

This study will require public input in order to get a better understanding of flooding conditions and solutions. Town halls will be scheduled eventually. But if you want to give your two cents now, the city has a web page set up to do that. 

Click here for that link.

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