Flooding and Stormwater Updates for Johns Island

Stakeholders review and discuss floodmaps
Discussion at the Dutch Dialogues(TM) Charleston

Johns Island is the focus of the City’s Dutch Dialogues

The City of Charleston and the Historic Charleston Foundation have launched Dutch Dialogues™ Charleston to initiate the development of a comprehensive, collective and strategic approach to flood mitigation. The Dutch DialoguesTM focus on four areas throughout the City of Charleston, including Johns Island. Dutch Dialogues™ Charleston is directed and coordinated by Waggonner & Ball, LLC; The Water Institute of the Gulf; and the Royal Netherlands Embassy, Washington, DC; alongside key Charleston-region partners like the Johns Island Community Association. The approach combines integrated planning with urban landscape design to collectively work to manage water.

Since May the City has held multiple stakeholder meetings to identify and connect related efforts, assemble project teams to assist in the development of flood mitigation in these high-threat areas, and provide opportunity for community feedback. While the Dutch Dialogues creates a great opportunity to develop state of the art engineering solutions to flooding throughout Charleston; Johns Island is unique since it poses more of a ‘governance’ issue than an engineering problem. As such, it will be important for the public to remain engaged throughout this process and request that our County and City elected officials implement the policy recommendations that are likely to come out of this process. Final results of the Dutch Dialogues will be presented at a public meeting on Thursday, September 26 from 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm at the Gaillard Center, 2 George Street. To learn more about the process and summaries from the meetings go to:

City of Charleston is updating their Stormwater Design Standards Manual

In Fall 2018, the City of Charleston assembled a Task Force consisting of engineers, developers, community stakeholders (like Johns Island Community Association), and City Council members to assist in the development of an updated Stormwater Design Standards Manual. Manual provides regulatory guidance for stormwater management throughout the City of Charleston. Upcoming Manual revisions will focus on improving regulatory processes and modernizing stormwater management practices. The Task Force has met monthly to explore a range of topics for consideration including green infrastructure, low impact development, sea level rise, tide surge considerations, water quality design, and additional design requirements for Special Protection Areas (places with known flooding). Manual revisions are continuing based on input from the group and a draft manual is planned for completion this Fall. As the Task Force and City officials work together to update the regulations, it will be important for the Johns Island community to continue to highlight the need for sustainable development practices in the right places.

Johns Island Drainage Master Plan provides a tool for better managing stormwater on the island

In 2018, the City of Charleston commissioned the development of a model to identify flood prone areas throughout the island, known as the Johns Island Drainage Master Plan. This model is being updated with recent elevation data from the County to assure changes in elevation from new development are incorporated in the model. This Master Plan is now being used in reviews of proposed new developments to evaluate impacts on the regional stormwater system and provide additional information for developers to model the existing stormwater conditions more accurately in their designs.

Johns Island Community comes together to protect Burden Creek

Johns Island community organizations and residents came together at the Charleston City Council meeting to speak out against annexation of land and a proposed development in the Burden Creek drainage area. A combination of letters and spoken comment were provided that clearly articulated the need for additional studies before considering development in this flood-prone area. Read JICA Boards letter submitted to Mayor Tecklenburg and the Charleston City of Council. Thank you to all of the residents for your time and effort to provide well-educated, thoughtful comments!

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