2021 journal article
Natural Infrastructure Practices as Potential Flood Storage and Reduction for Farms and Rural Communities in the North Carolina Coastal Plain
Increased global temperatures resulting from anthropogenically induced climate changes have increased the frequency and severity of adverse weather events, including extreme rainfall events, floods, and droughts. In recent years, nature-based solutions (NBS) have been proposed to retain storm runoff temporarily and mitigate flood damages. These practices may help rural farm and forest lands to store runoff and reduce flooding on farms and downstream communities and could be incorporated into a conservation program to provide payments for these efforts, which would supplement traditional farm incomes. Despite their potential, there have been very few methodical assessments and detailed summaries of NBS to date. We identified and summarized potential flood reduction practices for the Coastal Plain of North Carolina. These include agricultural practices of (1) cover cropping/no-till farming; (2) hardpan breakup; (3) pine or (4) hardwood afforestation, and (5) agroforestry; establishing the wetland and stream practices of (6) grass and sedge wetlands and earthen retention structures, (7) forest wetland banks, and (8) stream channel restoration; and establishing new structural solutions of (9) dry dams and berms (water farming) and (10) tile drainage and water retention. These practices offer different water holding and storage capacities and costs. A mixture of practices at the farm and landscape level can be implemented for floodwater retention and attenuation and damage reduction, as well as for providing additional farm and forest ecosystem services.