Buzzard Point, D.C.: flood resilience

Helping the US capital develop a flood resilience strategy protecting local communities from extreme rain events, with an integrated network of Blue/Green Infrastructure.

Buzzard Point is an urbanized area located on the peninsula formed by the confluence of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers in the southwest quadrant of Washington, D.C. The Buzzard Point Flood Resilience Strategy will design an integrated network of Blue/Green Infrastructure (BGI) to protect the Buzzard Point communities from interior flooding due to extreme rain events.

Appointed by Washington DC Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE), Ramboll is driving and providing all elements of this important project which includes citizen & stakeholder involvement, flood-risk modelling as well as the creation of a BGI Network & open space plan.

A wild river running through the city

The Potomac River is among the wildest rivers in the world, and it relatively often reaches flood stages because of events in distant areas of its watershed. Buzzard Point, which is a magnet for new urban development, is at risk because of its location between the two rivers.

The southwestern quadrant of the District of Columbia, which comprises the communities of Southwest and Buzzard Point, is at risk of flooding from stormwaters breaching the banks of the Potomac and the Anacostia rivers and/or from extreme rain events. The SW/Buzzard Point Flood Resilience Strategy, which is the formal and official name of the project, will design an integrated network of Blue/Green Infrastructure (BGI) to protect the communities from interior flooding due to extreme rain events.

The strategy will re-design open spaces and streets to function as a network of connected, floodable, multipurpose infrastructure projects that can absorb and contain excess stormwater during extreme rain events and easily return to its original/main function (i.e., transportation, recreation, parking etc.) after the excess stormwater is absorbed or conveyed away.

Although the strategy is focused primarily on flooding due to extreme rain events, the strategy is expected to work in concert with, and reinforce, future efforts to prevent coastal flooding due to storm surge, hurricanes, and sea level rise. The development of the strategy will be led by the DOEE in collaboration with District, Federal Agencies and local stakeholders.

The design of the draft BGI Network Plan and the open space plan with the community was designed in late 2022, and the design concepts for the first infrastructure project is ready for public feedback in the spring of 2023.

Final Strategy Contents:

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    Existing Conditions Analysis Repor

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    Area flood modeling

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    Parks and open space framework

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    Updated streetscape guidelines for Buzzard Point

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    A community-wide BGI flood resilience plan

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    Concept Designs for "phase One" project

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    A 10-year construction phasing plan

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    A cost benefit analysis of implementing the strategy

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    A financing strategy

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Engage with us

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  • Trine Stausgaard Munk

    Urbanism Team Lead and Head of Resilience, Head of Sustainability, Ramboll Water

    +45 5161 2827

  • Christian Nyerup Nielsen

    Director, Climate Adaptation & Landscape, Ramboll Water

    +45 51 61 62 77

  • Jennifer Olivo

    Vice President

    +1 585-295-7716