Miyuki Hino and Antonia Sebastian, principal investigators with the NOAA CAP/RISA team Carolinas Collaborative on Climate, Health, and Equity (C3HE), recently published the new article titled, “Growing Safely or Building Risk?” The publication analyzes new construction across 5 million parcels in the state of North Carolina (NC) and the relationships between flood risk management effort and development outcomes, particularly with floodplain zoning. Federally designated floodplains in NC were mapped over 10 years ago and have likely grown as a result of climate change. Floodplains can also grow through housing development where surfaces that catch and hold water are replaced with impermeable surfaces such as roads or roofs. Governments often use home buyouts in floodplains and change their land use to reduce flood risks.
Investigators’ analysis found that for every property removed through buyouts in NC from 1996 - 2017, more than 10 new residences were built in floodplains. They also found 75,000 acres of vacant floodplain land is currently zoned for development, including in communities taking flood risk measures. Land use planning and floodplain management such as modifying federal programs to de-incentivise floodplain development can play an important role to improve flood risk mitigation across NC communities.
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For more information, contact Jessica Garrison.
Image credit: Steve Helber