Residents had a chance to view possible flood mitigation solutions at a recent event to inform the public about updates to the Alafia River Watershed Plan.

By Brad Stager

Keeping roads passable in times of major storms and mitigating other flooding problems in the Brandon area are issues addressed by Hillsborough County’s Alafia River Watershed Master Plan. Last month, the county held a meeting to let the public know the ways in which the plan is being updated.

The Greater Brandon area lies within the watershed’s basin that spans 418 square miles, roughly from Bartow in Polk County, west to Tampa Bay and south from Plant City to SR 674.

The update identifies seven locations for projects to mitigate flooding: Van Gogh Cir./El Greco Dr., the Four Winds Estate subdivision, Buckhorn Creek from Brook Crossing Dr. to Culbreath Rd., Sparkman Rd. at Nesmith Rd./Coronet Rd., north of Knowles Rd. between Bryan and Bell Shoals Rds., McMullen Loop and McMullen Rd. and W. Trapnell Rd. from Mud Lake Rd. to SR 39.

In general, the individual projects call for such things as adding or eliminating culverts as needed and building infrastructure to catch and efficiently direct water to Tampa Bay. Plans do not call for altering natural features of the Alafia River or its tributaries.

County Public Works officials described the seven project plans as ‘conceptual’ solutions, subject to modification due to changing conditions such as continued development of the affected areas.

The primary goal of the projects is to ensure roads remain passable in severe weather, especially routes that are needed by emergency vehicles or for evacuation

The plans were made available for public viewing at a public meeting last month that was held at the Bloomingdale library. According to Project Manager Michaud Burgos, the projects require approval and funding by the Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners.

“These types of projects end up being added to our future projects list,” he said.

Burgos added that some of the information used to identify problem areas was collected from documented reports of flooding and comments from the public.

The Alafia River Watershed Master Plan also delineates the river’s floodplain and is used by local and regional officials as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency to make decisions and develop policies.

Residents can report street flooding by visiting www.hillsboroughcounty.org or calling Hillsborough County Public Works at 635-5400.