This project seeks to integrate nature-based solutions in a regional stormwater management system in Ocean Springs to meet the challenges of future flood and development conditions, while increasing access to green space for residents.

Status: Active

Like many other cities in the United States, Ocean Springs, MS has a large need for housing that is accessible and affordable for working class and lower middle-class families. As the need for more housing in Ocean Springs and Jackson County MS continues, the pressure for enhanced stormwater management system increases. However, the remaining uplands that are available for development are often flat and have poor drainage, putting current and future homeowners at a greater risk of flooding. By re-envisioning and re-designing stormwater management systems we aim to get ahead of future development and subsequent flooding issues.

Working with and enhancing natural systems we aim to create a regional stormwater management system in Ocean Springs to meet the challenges of future flood and development conditions, while increasing access to green space for residents to enjoy. During the first phase of this project, we assessed the feasibility of using nature-based solutions to mitigate flooding through attenuating stormwater and increasing the capacity for existing and new stormwater systems. The assessments were informed through by collecting municipal and community feedback, as well as biological and physical field measurements.

We collected and assessed:

Municipal Input to define priorities and outline standards for a successful stormwater management system.

Community Feedback to understand where residents were seeing flooding and the most impact from flooding, what recreational activities they enjoy, what natural features and green aspects they like, and barriers/roadblocks they face when trying to use outdoor spaces. Local community insight helped with identifying how and where nature-based regional stormwater management could feasibly and sufficiently addressed flooding issues.

Biological and Physical Field Data to further understand the extent of flooding in the area so that we could make decisions on what natural features are feasible, maintenance requirements, and construction costs.

After the assessments were conducted and stakeholder perspectives were collected, the information was used to create an optimization tool to assess different infrastructure options under a variety of future development and flood conditions. The potential outputs were presented during a final meeting with our municipal leaders to determine if any fit the preconceived priorities and standards outlined by the City, County, and community. Upon reaching consensus and deeming the project feasibility, the final approach for the second phase was outlined and a proposal was submitted for further funding to conduct engineering, design, and implementation.

So far, natural features and recreational spaces that offer increased accessibility, connectivity, and habitat for wildlife were rated highest. We will continue to collect resident feedback throughout the next phase. Up next we plan to…

…secure funding for engineering and design

engineer, design, and construct nature-based solutions in three different areas of Ocean Springs and unincorporated Jackson County

gain additional community feedback on flooding in the area and barriers to using green space

increase community education and awareness of nature-based solutions for flood mitigation