MILTON — Residents can learn about practices aimed at mitigating flood risks and improving water quality at two community workshops co-hosted by University of Florida faculty and Santa Rosa County Extension. 

“Low-impact development and ‘green infrastructure’ are ways to improve communities’ resiliency to wet-weather impacts,” said Eban Bean, an assistant professor of urban water resources at UF in Gainesville. “Features such as rain gardens, vegetative swales, permeable pavement, green roofs and rain barrels can be designed to reduce flooding and improve water quality.”

Hours are 6-7:15 p.m. Oct. 1 at the Tiger Point Community Center, 1370 Tiger Park Lane, Gulf Breeze; and 6-7:15 p.m. Oct. 10 in building 4900, UF/Pensacola State College, 5988 Highway 90, Milton.

UF Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences Extension and research faculty have partnered with the county's staff to educate the public and gain feedback on implementing such strategies in the area.

Bean and Matthew Deitch, UF/IFAS assistant professor of watershed management in Milton, will lead the discussions about urban runoff and water quality in the Panhandle, as well as describe how green infrastructure has been used throughout Florida to benefit communities.

Afterward, participants can provide input on places where flooding is common and where water quality is impaired. This feedback will help decide areas where researchers will collect runoff and water quality data for the next two years and test the benefits of green infrastructure on flooding and water quality using computer simulations.

Results will be shared at future workshops and guide future projects to reduce flooding and improve water quality in Santa Rosa County.

Online registration is recommended at freeworkshop.eventbrite.com. The first 50 attendees at each meeting will receive an emergency rain poncho.

Contact Matt Deitch, 850-983-7131 or mdeitch@ufl.edu, for more information.