Fifty years ago this month, a Staff Sergeant, I returned from an assignment in the Republic of Korea to experience the Seattle Olympics. It was a vision of the future!
The Space Needle, Monorail and pavilions were exciting places to visit because they were dedicated to the 21st Century. I spent a lot of time at the science exhibits where they showed the relationship between science and the humanities. It was an early focus on Washington State and showed their potential for leadership in science and technology. Currently, Seattle is embarking on the next fifty years (http://www.seattlecenter.com/).
Where should Collier County focus its attention during the next fifty years? My vote would be on the management of surface water to avoid flooding inside our watershed.
In a technical drought for the past few years, we really haven't experienced a great deal of flooding! But we know it can cause widespread chaos. We also know that surface water flood events form the basis for the revised Federal Emergency Management Agency maps that identify more structures at risk.
One of the most dangerous and frequent challenges, property in Collier County, comes from the flow of water into areas that are not designed for flooding.
The Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance was designed to remove impacts that can lead to tragic loss of life, damage built and natural environments and present massive disruption to lives in the short term. In the long term, the recovery and post-recovery phases can also cause distress, disruption, health problems and financial hardship lasting many years.
I would hope that when we review Collier County 50 years from now that we have finally come to grips with the wider flooding context, including the uncertainties of changing flood hazards.
With no expansion possibilities in the primary canal system, we must reduce overland flow of water using wet ponds (a.k.a. stormwater ponds, wet retention ponds, wet extended detention ponds) that should be constructed throughout Collier County’s Northern Golden Gate Estates Flowway Restoration Project. Ponds treat incoming stormwater runoff by allowing particles to settle and algae to take up nutrients. The primary removal mechanism is settling as stormwater runoff resides in this pool and pollutant uptake, particularly of nutrients, also occurs through biological activity in the pond.
If Seattle can lay claim “to fealty and [cloud filled] skies that are 50 shades of grey” why can’t Naples claim fealty to sunshine, smart watershed management and no flooding?