Jeff Masters Weather Blog

Voluntary buyouts could help reduce flooding in six Rhode Island neighborhoods » Yale Climate Connections

When it rains, many people who live in the Pocasset River watershed in Rhode Island brace for flooding.

“It’s over and over. I mean, these people have been dealing with flooding for decades,” says Sara Morrison of the engineering firm Fuss and O’Neill.

Her group has helped the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service create a plan to reduce the flooding.

She says the region is highly urbanized. During downpours, water runs off roofs, streets, and sidewalks instead of soaking into the soil.

So her group has recommended adding more green space near the river that can absorb and hold stormwater — “not only addressing the flooding issues in the area but also providing things like habitat enhancement, public open space,” she says.

To secure the land in the flood plain, the government will offer to purchase properties in six neighborhoods.

Those buyouts will be voluntary. So it will take time to acquire the property, demolish the structures, and restore the land.

And Morrison says the final design for the area will evolve as residents and local officials provide more input on what they need and can maintain.

But she says all are eager for solutions as climate change brings more heavy rain.

Read: Why is it raining so hard? Global warming is delivering heavier downpours

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media

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