2022 journal article
Geospatial Analysis and Land Suitability for “FloodWise” Practices: Nature-Based Solutions for Flood Mitigation in Eastern, Rural North Carolina
As the global climate continues to change, extreme weather events such as hurricanes and heavy rainfall are becoming more frequent. Subsequently, flooding and standing water disrupt and negatively impact many communities. The use of nature-based solutions (NBS) is an innovative and sustainable approach to flood mitigation. Geospatial research and applications have developed rapidly to identify and map broad regions in the world, as well as specific locations for NBS. We conducted a geospatial analysis in ArcGIS Pro to identify areas where NBS, referred to as “FloodWise” practices in this study, could be sited in the North Carolina Coastal Plain to strategically reduce flooding and provide water quality and habitat improvement. The study provides a spatially explicit application of integrated remote sensing, scientific and professional knowledge, and extant databases to screen diverse variables and identify potential specific NBS opportunities and sites. The practices modeled in this study are wetland restoration, afforestation, agroforestry, “water farming” (which uses a combination of dry dams and berms), and stream restoration. Maps of specific areas and tracts in the county for the NBS practices in Robeson County, North Carolina were developed based on the land ownership size, biophysical characteristics, current land uses, and water management opportunities. Land suitability locations revealed in these maps can be used in future resilience planning initiatives to reduce floodwaters on North Carolina’s rural landscapes. The geospatial analysis methodologies employed in this study can be followed to model NBS locations for flood reduction and water storage opportunities in other counties in Eastern North Carolina or other regions with similar topographies and land-type characteristics.