Watershed Initiative Plan: Howell Branch Basin

The Howell Branch Watershed Management Plan Study aims to address flooding issues within the Howell Branch watershed in Orlando. Over the years, the city has received numerous complaints about flooding in this area. The watershed comprises six closed-lake drainage basins without surface outfalls, relying on seepage, evaporation, or drainage wells to manage flooding.

Additionally, older neighborhoods like College Park and Lake Highland Park were developed before floodplain and stormwater management regulations were established, exacerbating the vulnerability to flooding. Factors such as increased rainfall intensity, storm frequency, and stormwater runoff further contribute to the watershed's susceptibility to flooding.

Recognizing these challenges, the study seeks to analyze flood risks and develop mitigation strategies to safeguard residents, businesses, and visitors.

We are dedicated to analyzing and enhancing public infrastructure to mitigate flooding, safeguarding residents, businesses, and the environment. Our efforts aim to enhance safety, quality of life, and economic stability, underscoring our commitment to resilient, thriving communities amidst flood hazards.

The Watershed Management Plan for the Howell Branch watershed will analyze the current public infrastructure and provide recommendations to alleviate and lessen the impact of flooding.

The plan will provide a path-forward to prevent or alleviate the watershed from future flood hazards based on projections of rainfall intensity and other impacts associated with climate change.

The plan may be credited toward the city’s Community Rating System (CRS), which provides a reduction of flood insurance costs for city residents and business owners.

The federal grant has local cost share component, which is 75 percent federal and 25 percent local (city) match. $150,000 Federal and $50,000 City of Orlando match.

Public Works has been continuously looking for grants to assess and improve public infrastructures and alleviate flooding in the city’s jurisdiction boundaries.

Why did we apply for the grant?
The city is proactively seeking for strategy to assess and mitigate flooding due to the aging public infrastructures and projections of rainfall intensity and other impacts of climate change.

What areas will be assessed under this Watershed Management Plan?
The Watershed Management Plan will assess the Howell Branch watershed, which is comprised of 18 drainage sub-basins totaling approximately 4,894 acres.

Will the watershed study impact insurance rates in our neighborhood?
This watershed study is part of the city's efforts to improve its Community Rating System (CRS) score with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). A higher CRS rating can lead to lower flood insurance premiums for residents in the community. By identifying and addressing flood risks more accurately, the city aims to enhance local flood management strategies, which can positively influence insurance rates. The actual impact on insurance premiums will depend on several factors, however, including findings of the study and subsequent actions taken by the city and FEMA.

Will the watershed study involve any changes to existing drainage systems or infrastructure in our neighborhood?
The study provides insight to flood risk throughout the community and will point to specific strategies and targeted remedies including future infrastructure improvements and initiatives.

How can residents contribute to the watershed study and stay informed about its progress?
An Open House will be held June 4, 2024, at the College Park Neighborhood Center from 6 to 8 p.m. Consultants and city staff will be present to explain the study and invite community feedback regarding incidents of flooding they may have experienced. They will also seek suggestions on mitigating future flooding. 

In late summer or early fall of 2024, there will be a public meeting to share the study findings, suggest mitigation strategies, and seek public comment. Meeting schedules will be posted on this webpage and Nextdoor.com. Additionally, neighborhood association leaders will share meeting information with community residents. You may send your email address to Lauri Brooks at lauri.brooks@orlando.gov if you would like to receive notice of the meetings emailed to you.



2393 Elizabeth Avenue, Orlando, FL 32804  View Map

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