Learn more about what open spaces are and how they are included in flood projections
Open space preservation is a strategy that reduces flood risk by restricting development in flood-prone greenspaces. These greenspaces might exist in naturally low-lying areas and river floodplains, thereby making them more prone to flooding. Restricting development in flood prone open spaces keeps homes out of harm’s way from floodwaters. Preserving these open spaces can also act as the first line of defense for adjacent development, soaking up floodwaters that may have otherwise reached and flooded these properties.
South Cape May Meadows near the southern NJ shore community of Cape May (photo courtesy of Jim Wright/TNC/Lighthawk)
South Cape May Meadows near Cape May, NJ is one example of an open space preservation that was included in First Street’s modeling process. The Cape May peninsula of New Jersey is a known flood prone area due to its coastal location, flat terrain, and history of storm surge damage. Following a particularly costly storm in 1991, a group of stakeholders including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, The Nature Conservancy, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and local governments backed the establishment of South Cape May Meadows as open space preserve. The project also included elements of beach, dune, and wetland restoration. Upon its completion in 2007, flood claims following major storm events dropped from an average of $143,713 to $3,713 in the adjacent community of Cape May Point (project information sourced from Naturally Resilient Communities).
South Cape May Meadows near the southern NJ shore community of Cape May.
Flood risk reduction
Information on Flood Factor comes from the First Street Foundation Flood Model. Open space preservation is one of the 40 different types of flood risk reduction projects, known as adaptation, that this model considers when calculating and validating flood projections.