WEBINAR: Flood Mitigation in the Suburbs: Open Space and Detention Ponds on the Florida Gulf Coast University Campus

ORIGINALLY AIRED: APRIL 13, 2022 | 1:00 - 2:00 PM ET



L. Donald Duke, Ph.D., P.E.
The Water School, Florida Gulf Coast University

Don Duke is Professor of Environmental Studies at the Florida Gulf Coast University Water School. He specializes in water resources teaching and research, especially applying science and engineering data and methods to assess effectiveness of environmental policies, practices, and local management strategies – including designing and improving those strategies. He holds a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Stanford University, and undergraduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. He has served on panels for the National Science Foundation and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine; served for 10 years on the Board of Directors of the Florida section of AWRA; co-Chaired the AWRA Virtual Annual Conferences in 2020 and 2021, hoping for a bright spot in a Covid-blighted world; and is Secretary/Treasurer of AWRA. His favorite is working as chapter advisor to the eager and dedicated students of the FGCU Student Chapter of AWRA.

Madison Mullen
Master of Science candidate
The Water School, Florida Gulf Coast University

Madison Mullen is a student in the Environmental Sciences Master of Science degree program in the Water School at Florida Gulf Coast University, and President of the FGCU Student Chapter of AWRA.


Kallie Unger
Bachelor of Arts candidate
The Water School, Florida Gulf Coast University

Kallie Unger is a student in the Environmental Studies Bachelor of Arts degree program in the Water School at Florida Gulf Coast University, and Vice President of the FGCU Student Chapter of AWRA.



The 800-acre campus of Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), with 14 stormwater wet detention ponds and some 400 acres of open space, serves as an instrumented laboratory to assess hydrology of a suburban southwest Florida system. Data 2020 and 2021 wet seasons show that: groundwater elevation is highly responsive to precipitation events, as are stormwater ponds; storage in ponds is sharply limited in wet season, with little freeboard between surface and spillover; recharge from ponds is largely absent due to elevated water table; but the ponds by design discharge into the wooded open spaces, which become seasonal wetlands, massively increasing surface storage and promoting infiltration when the water table fluctuates below the forest floor. Results document the success of this kind of open-space, wetland-intensive land use, which could be highly effective in the rapidly increasing residential and commercial development of southwest Florida.

Learning Objectives

  1. Interrogate effectiveness of flood mitigation from land use strategies at an 800-acre University campus.
  2. Define interactions among groundwater, stormwater ponds, and open space in hydrology of a suburban campus.
  3. Develop recommendations for low-impact land use at mitigating peak runoff in a rapidly-developing residential-intensive suburban region in south Florida.

Webinar Recording & PDH Certificate

Included with your webinar registration is access to a recording of the program and a fillable certificate to self-report your Professional Development Hour (PDH)/Continuing Education Credit (CEU). Your certificate will be available to download and a link to the recording of this webinar will be sent within a week of the live program from [email protected]. The recording is exclusively for you, the registrant of the webinar. They are not to be shared or forwarded.


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