Floodplains & Drainage Systems

Benefits of Natural Floodplain Systems

In their undisturbed, natural state, the City’s wetlands, open green areas, streams, and vegetation dunes perform beneficial functions.

Preserving and managing these areas in the floodplain helps with:
  • Natural flood and erosion control by providing flood water storage and conveyance and reducing flood velocity
  • Water quality by filtering nutrients and impurities from runoff
  • Biological resources by supporting plant growth and wildlife habitat
Additionally, dumping in any stream or creek is specifically prohibited by City Ordinance.

Storm Water Drainage Maintenance

Dumping, debris, soil erosion and vegetation overgrowth can decrease the community’s drainage system carrying or storage capacity. When this happens, flooding occurs more frequently and reaches higher elevations, subjecting more properties to the risk of damage.
To minimize these risks, the City of Fernandina Beach and the St. John’s River Water Management District enforce regulations for the maintenance of streams, channels, and retention basins.

The City’s Utility Department implements this program and should be notified of any violations or unsafe conditions at (904) 310-3420.

​Living Shorelines

 Establishing a Living Shoreline system over a seawall or bulkhead has the opportunity to prevent the following problems associated with shoreline armoring such as:
  • Create a “bathtub” effect in bays, removing the gentle rolling/lapping of waves on shorelines into “popping” of waves against walls.
  • Perpetuates erosion in front of/behind structure
  • Disrupts longshore sediment transport
  • Creates erosion of adjacent properties
  • Expensive construction and maintenance costs
  • Do not allow for acclimation to sea level rise
  • Provide no habitat for wildlife – loss of intertidal zone
  • Loss of natural shoreline vegetation reduces water quality by removing the shoreline’s ability to filter excess nutrients from runoff.

Diagram from NOAA Living Shorelines