Water & Flood Risk
JACKSONVILLE IS A CITY SHAPED BY WATER
Jacksonville’s relationship with water is central to the city’s past, present, and future. The city’s geography is defined by water in many ways: by its close proximity to the coast and the Intracoastal Waterway, by the St. John’s River in the heart of the city, and by the many tributaries (streams, creeks, and smaller rivers connected to and flowing into the St. John’s River) within city limits. Jacksonville’s abundant water contributes to its unique ecosystems, its economy, the character of its communities, and its sense of place.
JACKSONVILLE IS 35% WATER + WETLANDS
(~192,000 of 544,800 total acres)
49,000 ACRES OF ST. JOHN’S RIVER + CONNECTED WATERWAYS
36,500 ACRES OF TIDAL WETLANDS
106,500 ACRES OF FRESHWATER WETLANDS, PONDS, AND LAKES
Approximate values calculated from data published for Duval County in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wetlands Inventory, 2021
FLOODING IN JACKSONVILLE
All of this water makes Jacksonville vulnerable to flooding. Jacksonville experiences flooding from both the ocean and rain, even in inland areas because many rivers are tidally influenced. Sometimes, heavy rains and coastal flooding happen at the same time. This is compound flooding, and it can lead to extreme impacts. Sea level rise and other effects of climate change are increasing these risks.
WHAT is A WATERSHED?
A WATERSHED is an area of land that drains to a common waterbody, such as a creek or a stream. Watershed boundaries are usually ridges or high areas. The center of a watershed is usually low-lying, and is often a wetland. Watersheds do not follow political boundaries. Instead, they follow where water flows. Healthy watersheds are important for water quality, biodiversity, and human well-being.