An Analysis of the Effects of Land Use and Land Cover on Flood Losses along the Gulf of Mexico Coast from 1999 to 2009 Academic Article uri icon


  • 2015 American Water Resources Association. Major coastal flooding events over the last decade have led decision makers in the United States to favor structural engineering solutions as a means to protect vulnerable coastal communities from the adverse impacts of future storms. While a resistance-based approach to flood mitigation involving large-scale construction works may be a central component of a regional flood risk reduction strategy, it is equally important to consider the role of land use and land cover (LULC) patterns in protecting communities from floods. To date, little observational research has been conducted to quantify the effects of various LULC configurations on the amount of property damage occurring across coastal regions over time. In response, we statistically examine the impacts of LULC on observed flood damage across 2,692 watersheds bordering the Gulf of Mexico. Specifically, we analyze statistical linear regression models to isolate the influence of multiple LULC categories on over 372,000 insured flood losses claimed under the National Flood Insurance Program per year from 2001 to 2008. Results indicate that percent increase in palustrine wetlands is the equivalent to, on average, a $13,975 reduction in insured flood losses per year, per watershed. These and other results provide important insights to policy makers on how protecting specific types of LULC can help reduce adverse impacts to local communities.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Brody, S. D., Highfield, W. E., & Blessing, R.

citation count

  • 29

complete list of authors

  • Brody, Samuel D||Highfield, Wesley E||Blessing, Russell

publication date

  • December 2015