Groundwork Jacksonville Awarded Major HUD Grant for Watershed and Resiliency Planning

Groundwork Jacksonville (GWJax) is the recipient of a $718,809 grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) Rebuild Florida General Planning Support Program. The grant will enable GWJax to create an ecologically based watershed restoration and management plan for the McCoys Creek and Hogans Creek watersheds that identifies specific remedies to reduce flooding, improve water quality, increase community resilience, restore habitat, and improve access to recreation.

“We are proud to be selected for this important resiliency grant,” said GWJax CEO Kay Ehas. “The goal is to develop a watershed plan that will be a model the City can replicate throughout other watersheds.” According to Ehas, planting green infrastructure throughout both watersheds will benefit the water quality of the creeks. The plan will include the type and location of green infrastructure to be implemented. The project also will increase community knowledge about resiliency and healthy watersheds and identify community stewards and partners who will work with GWJax to install green infrastructure throughout the urban core neighborhoods.

DEO is the governor-designated state authority responsible for administering all U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) long-term recovery funds awarded to the state. Rebuild Florida uses federal funding for Florida’s long-term recovery efforts from the devastating impacts of natural disasters. GWJax was one of 37 recipients across Florida to share in $20 million in resiliency planning funds.

The GWJax watershed plan will benefit Jacksonville’s urban core which includes 10 distinct neighborhoods within 14 census tracts. Sixty-eight percent of residents within the project area are African American and approximately 72 percent of households are considered low, very low or extremely low income.

Phase 1 will focus on building early stakeholder engagement, data collection and compilation, and watershed evaluation. Phase II will include goal setting and identifying and evaluating solutions, and design of the implementation plan, including how it will be monitored and measured. The planning effort will look at neighborhood-level solutions, as well as larger watershed-level remedies.

Phase III, not included in this planning grant, will involve implementation and restoration projects as identified in the plan including working with neighborhoods and partners to implement green infrastructure and natural solutions.