Flooding is a major source of concern for Texas’ coastal communities. It affects the quality of infrastructure, the lives of citizens, and the ecological systems upon which coastal communities in Texas rely. To plan for and mitigate the impacts of flooding, Texas coastal communities may implement land use tools such as zoning, drainage utility systems, eminent domain, exactions, and easements. Additionally, these communities can benefit from understanding how flooding affects water quality and the tools available to restore water bodies to healthy water quality levels. Finally, implementing additional programs for education and ecotourism will help citizens develop knowledge of the impacts of flooding and ways to plan and mitigate for coastal flooding.
Land use tools can help communities plan for and mitigate flooding. Section III addresses zoning, a land use tool that most municipalities already utilize to organize development. Zoning can help mitigate flooding, drainage, and water quality issues, which, Texas coastal communities continually battle. Section IV discusses municipal drainage utility systems, which are a mechanism available to municipalities to generate dedicated funds that can help offset costs associated with providing stormwater management. Section V addresses land use and revenue-building tools such as easements, eminent domain, and exactions, which are vital for maintaining existing and new developments in Texas coastal communities. Additionally, Section VI addresses conservation easements, which are a flexible tool that can enhance community resilience through increasing purchase power, establishing protected legal rights, and minimizing hazardous flood impacts.
Maintaining good water quality is important for sustaining the diverse ecosystems located within and around Texas coastal communities. Water quality is regulated at the federal level through the Clean Water Act. As discussed in Section VII, the state of Texas is authorized to implement and enforce these regulations by implementing point source and nonpoint source pollutants programs, issuing permits, implementing stormwater discharge programs, collecting water quality data, and setting water quality standards. The state of Texas also assists local communities with implementing restorative programs, such as Watershed Protection Programs, to help local stakeholders restore impaired water bodies.
Section VIII addresses ecotourism and how these distinct economic initiatives can help highlight the importance of ecosystem services to local communities. Section VIX discusses the role of education in improving awareness within the community and among visitors, and how making conscious decisions can allow coastal communities to protect their ecosystem and protect against flooding.
Legal Mechanisms for Mitigating Flood Impacts
Natural Resources Systems Capstone Seminar
Texas A&M University School of Law
Fort Worth, TX
Copyright © 2019 by Texas A&M University School of Law This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC)
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Bedford, Philip; Long, Alexis; Long, Thomas; Milliken, Erin; Thomas, Lauren; and Yelvington, Alexis, "Legal Mechanisms for Mitigating Flood Impacts in Texas Coastal Communities" (2019). EENRS Program Reports & Publications. 5.