This project will evaluate the effectiveness of nature-based solutions to mitigate compound flooding in Mobile Bay by incorporating flood mitigation strategies into models that inform coastal planning and decision-making.
Nature-based solutions (NBS), or green infrastructure, are increasing in popularity due to the economic and ecological advantages over traditional hardened shorelines such as bulkheads. Living shorelines and other NBSs can mitigate the effects of flooding, but the influence of NBSs has not been explored under compound flood scenarios. Compound flooding occurs when one or more flood drivers happen at the same time, or in quick succession. Current flood forecasting relies on a set of models to estimate storm surge inundation and a separate set of models to estimate rainfall-driven riverine flooding. Forecasters do their best to predict what will happen when these two types of flooding combine. Water levels with compound flooding can be much higher than when one flood driver occurs in isolation. When two flood drivers occur at the same time, the water levels are not simply the additive effect of riverine and coastal flooding, estimating water levels for a compound flood is more complex.
The project team will couple hydrodynamic models of Mobile Bay with riverine models in the National Water Model to shed light on the combined effects of these two flood drivers. NBS, like living shorelines, will be incorporated into models to determine their effectiveness at mitigating compound floods in the Mobile Bay area. Initial input from stakeholders has been gathered and the project team will meet with the stakeholder group a few more times throughout the project duration. Front-end input from these end-users will help steer the research and modeling efforts. Using this stakeholder-driven process will ensure the end products are useful to coastal decision-makers.