81 percent of the Jersey Shore is paved. Why that’s bad for flooding

AVALON ZOPPO / PRESS OF ATLANTIC CITY – Tall dune grass covers one of the curb strips outside Mary Louise Hayes’ residence, and sea shells line her driveway.

Everything on her very green lawn serves one purpose: absorbing flood water and reducing the amount of polluted runoff that enters storm drains.

“They call me the queen of permeable surfaces,” Hayes said. “We’re built ‘flood smart.'”

But her home isn’t typical.

Nearly 85 percent of Ocean City consists of roads, sidewalks, driveways, parking lots and other impervious surfaces that water cannot infiltrate, according to 2015 data from the Department of Environmental Protection gathered using Geographic Information System (GIS) tools …

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