The summer of 2021 turned out to be another for the record books in terms of heavy rain.
Unsurprisingly to many Newark residents, heavy rains associated with the remnants of Tropical Storm Fred in August and the remnants of Hurricane Ida last week have once again resulted in flooding of local roads. This follows major flooding last summer associated with Hurricane Isaias.
One of the predicted consequences of climate change for our region is an increased likelihood of heavy rainfall. We can therefore expect more flooding. Is there anything that can be done about this?
Some of the flooding happens simply because the ground cannot absorb the rain as quickly as it falls. Impervious surfaces – like traditional cobblestone streets – are particularly poor at absorbing water, which can cause streets to flood even far from rivers or the coast. Further flooding occurs along rivers, streams and streams. These streams, which can be very small and shallow most of the time, can be called upon to channel large amounts of runoff collected by heavy rains over much of their watershed. Suddenly, a small peaceful stream turns into a torrent overflowing its banks.
One way to reduce river flooding is to reduce the runoff reaching streams during heavy rains: the watershed needs to absorb water better and let it flow either into groundwater or more slowly into streams and streams. rivers. This is often referred to as “storm water management” and has become an integral part of any new development project. But it wasn’t always so, and even with mitigation measures runoff during heavy storms can be quite significant.
The City of Newark is working to reduce stormwater-related flooding, for example, by constructing the new stormwater pond in the park on Hillside Road, which is expected to be completed later this year.
But there are also things the townspeople can do, especially those who live next to the waterways. It is important to take good care of the areas near the riverbank to ensure that they can absorb the rain and that they will not be washed away. These areas are sometimes referred to as “riparian buffers,” acting as a cushion between runoff and the rivers themselves.
Ideally, riparian buffers are planted with a variety of different native plants, including trees, shrubs, ferns, grasses, and woodland flowers. The variety helps slow down the water. Trees and shrubs also have deeper roots than grass alone and are therefore better able to hold the soil in place, preventing erosion.
If lawns extend to the edge of a stream or river, they generally should not be mowed immediately next to the stream except for weeding and only once or twice a year and not during the nesting season.
If you’re ready to upgrade your shoreline, New Garden Township, Pa., Maintains a Web page with some tips on how to get started and what types of plants to use.
If you don’t have the time or money to invest right now but still want to reap some of the benefits of increased groundwater infiltration, decreased erosion, filtering improved pollutants and improved wildlife habitat, just stop mowing a strip along the shoreline. Those who live downstream will thank you.