Flooding in Eastwick is complex and will require multiple flood measures to address. This fall, the Office of Sustainability (OOS) collaborated with partners to host a series of information sessions and a panel event around flood resilience strategies. Eastwick residents were able to ask questions and give feedback on the strategies presented which included the following measures: a levee, household-level interventions, and the community-led proposal for relocation within the neighborhood.

The first event on October 6 included a presentation from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) who spoke about how levees typically work and gave updates on their current study in Eastwick. A levee is an earthen berm made of compacted earthen materials meant to guard against potential flooding. A levee is one of the options the Army Corps is exploring as a part of the “Eastwick Flood Risk Management Study” that began in 2019. The Army Corps will be releasing their Tentatively Selected Plan in early 2023, which will likely recommend a levee in the open space behind Saturn Place, connecting to the Clearview Landfill. There are still some questions that require further evaluation, including potential flood impacts of a levee in other areas. To learn more, see our notes from the October 6 information session.

The second event was an information session on October 20 that featured presentations from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM), and USACE about household-level measures that can be taken to lessen the impact of flooding on individuals and their property. Some of the options include being prepared with a household emergency plan and go-bag, reducing damages by protecting utilities and floodproofing, recovery resources like flood insurance, and examples of mitigation programs such as elevation, reconstruction, or voluntary buyouts. To learn more, see our notes from the October 20 information session.

The third event was the culmination of a two-day Urban Land Institute (ULI) Technical Assistance Panel co-sponsored by Eastwick United CDC and OOS. ULI Philadelphia members from across the region volunteer their time as panelists for this two-day intensive gathering, concluding with a public presentation with the panelists’ findings and recommendations. Panelists were asked to consider if intracommunity relocation within Eastwick was feasible via the community-led Land Swap proposal while observing Eastwick United’s criteria of safety, no further displacement, and keeping the community whole. Panelists determined that intracommunity relocation would require many years to accomplish due to obstacles such as financing, extending utilities, and the time it would take to build new homes. The panelists also evaluated other resilience options and suggested alternative measures like giving Eastwick residents the first opportunity to purchase housing for sale in Eastwick. The full report from the ULI panelists will be available in 2023.