Assessing Floods Risks for Community-Led Action

Gulfport, Mississippi

Featured image for the project, Assessing Floods Risks for Community-Led Action


Gulfport, the second-largest city in Mississippi, and surrounding areas have faced many natural disasters since the landfall of Hurricane Camille in 1969 to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but the inherent resilience of its citizens to rebuild and endure continue to keep the spirited community coming back. However, a lack of adequate drainage (open a closed ditches) to complement the revitalization and development efforts within the coastal area of the city creates large flooding events following short rain periods. The recent reduction in wetlands regulation, zoning changes, industrial development, and the expansion of impervious surfaces as citizens move north from the beachfront has further exacerbated these localized flooding issues. This creates flooding issues along the interstate, with subdivisions to the south of I-10 facing the most severe impacts, specifically the historically significant communities of Turkey Creek (one of the first settlements established by emancipated African Americans) and Forest Heights (one of the nation’s first integrated home ownership developments for low income families).

Residents in Gulfport neighborhoods are continually facing heavy rains which leads to flooding that often enter houses and yield to constant development without adequate drainage for storm water management. Heavy-use diesel traffic along the 25th St. corridor and stripping roads to dirt for redevelopment in nearby Biloxi has residents concerned about local air quality and associated health concerns. They currently have working relationships with NAACP, US Climate Action Network, HBCUs, and the National Environmental Justice Conference and Training Program.

The goal of this project is to bring objective scientific evidence and understanding to the questions and priorities of residents around flooding and air quality, so the community can use that science to make decisions and take actions alongside elected officials.

This project has been conceived and designed in partnership with community leaders at Education, Economics, Environmental, Climate and Health Organization and with our national partner, Higher Ground.


Ms. Katerine Egland is co-founder of the Education, Economics, Environmental, Climate and Health Organization (EEECHO), a Gulf Coast grassroots coalition of diverse, consensus-based group of educational, economics, health, environmental justice, climate justice, religious, and policy advocates and professionals that represent the interest of building better communities.

Collaborating Organization(s)

This project is part of one of Thriving Earth Exchange’s new cohorts. Thriving Earth Exchange has partnered with Higher Ground which supports grassroots flood groups across the country by helping them develop strategies for a sustainable future. Thriving Earth Exchange is working with fifteen of their grassroots groups to connect them with scientists who can help them better characterize neighborhood-level flood risks and work effectively with local decision makers to mitigate those risks.