Old Flood Maps... New Problem

By: Valerie Lacy
By: Valerie Lacy

Over the past decade Wakulla County's emergency management director has kept an eye on flood plains. The areas around the Sopchoppy River, Smith Creek and the Saint Marks River have always been a problem.

Joe Blanchard, Wakulla County Emergency Management Director, says, "We know where our flooding is taking place and we try to correlate those back to the FEMA flood maps, and that isn't always possible."

It’s due, in part, because some of the maps have been in place since before the Clinton administration, and it's time for some new ones.

Donnie Sparkman, Community Development Director, says, "The last update we had was in '92, and that was only on a few of the maps. Other than that, they were done back in the '80s."

Blanchard predicts the flooding problem will persist and possibly become worse.

Joe Blanchard explains, "We'll see additional flooding and it may mean we have to have additional regulations. We also know that the new construction going on in eastern Leon County will contribute to greater runoff and faster runoff into the Saint Marks River, so through the years we anticipate higher waters and bigger floods."

When he mentions construction in Leon County, he's talking about the Fallschase development. It's a factor he's considering as he waits and hopes the water management district will come through with some new maps for his county.

Before the floods wash through, the county is hoping for grant funding so it can afford the specialized maps it needs to help predict where flooding will occur.


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