FES Journal – Environmental Issue

June 2019
Brent Whitfield, P.E., ENV SP
Director of Water Resources, Chen Moore and Associates
Since the earliest days of development in Florida, flooding has been an ever-present threat to property and safety. Considering that much of the stormwater infrastructure in Florida requires repair or replacement, now is the time to begin planning for how to manage the flooding issues of the future. Thankfully, for the 16-county region within the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), a planning process has been initiated. A basin by basin Flood Protection Level of Service (FPLOS) assessment is being done to identify the existing level of service provided by State and Federal drainage infrastructure and to identify what projects are needed going forward.

On a local scale, the FPLOS program is being applied in two phases. Phase 1 consists of using computer models to assess the level of flood protection provided by the existing infrastructure for a range of future development and sea level rise scenarios. The results are reviewed to compare: (1) maximum stage in primary canals, (2) maximum discharge capacity into the primary network, (3) structure performance, (4) peak storm runoff, (5) maximum depth of flooding, and (6) duration of flooding across the basin. Where problems are identified, Phase 2 studies are proposed to identify flood mitigation projects and establishes thresholds for project implementation.

This analysis is critical to understand the current and projected state of flood protection provided by State and Federal owned infrastructure. In a similar fashion, many municipalities across the State have done their own evaluations through stormwater management master plans. Identifying flood protection issues at the local and regional level is the first step. The most critical piece is funding and constructing the necessary improvement projects. A program like FPLOS provides the tools for technical professionals to explain to policy makers and taxpayers the importance of that funding.

This post is an excerpt from an article published in the June 2019 Issue of FES Journal. To download the article, visit the following link:


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