November 1, 2018 –On October 23, 2018, city council president Aaron Bowman held a noticed public meeting to discuss the need for a task force to study Jacksonville’s flooding issues. Rather than act, Bowman, according to minutes of the 20-minute meeting, opted to hold a second noticed meeting to further discuss “how best to address this issue.”
Formation of a task force or special committee has been called for by an August 15 resolution adopted by the Jacksonville Waterways Commission. Lori Boyer, city council member, District 5, chairs the commission.
The resolution states that Jacksonville’s “drainage infrastructure” is “designed to discharge into the St. Johns River” and, as such, is challenged by “water levels in the St. Johns, bulkheads, and loss of wetlands.” Citing back to back hurricanes Matthew and Irma, the resolution holds that attention has been “heightened” to the “flooding impacts” along the river and its tributaries.
The resolution asks that the special study group “offer recommendations to the City Council as to opportunities for maintenance and preservation of wetlands and floodplains and various drainage and stormwater system improvements.”
Established in 1984, the Jacksonville Waterways Commission makes recommendations to city council for “the improvement, development and protection of the St. Johns River and all tidal waters in Duval County. The Commission is charged to formulate an overall plan for dealing with any problems that exist with the St. Johns River and Duval County tidal waters” (coj.net)
The commission, according to October 23 meeting minutes, is particularly interested in how “to prevent new development from causing flooding and drainage issues.” Its members think a special committee would better handle the “complexity of flooding and drainage issues” than the commission itself.
The Resolution and the Council action are presented below: