The best flood mitigation plan I can think of would be to stop creating so many impermeable surfaces (“St. Louis County plans ahead for natural disasters,” Jan. 27).

For more than five years, since the disastrous flooding in June 2012, residents below the Congdon Terrace community have been dealing with the heavy flooding during extended rainfalls caused by unchecked runoff from streets, sidewalks, breezeways, terraces, and patios located uphill.

Planet Earth has the amazing ability to soak up water like a sponge, to absorb water, and to send it to underground aquifers, rivers, and water tables. This is nature’s own storm-sewer system. Impermeable surfaces like concrete and asphalt do the exact opposite. They prevent water from entering the Earth; eventually the water either accumulates in one place and floods or rushes downhill, flooding everything in its path.

Such flooding occurs in shopping malls and downtowns because there is nowhere for water to go. Unless sophisticated and effective drainage systems that ultimately route water into municipal storm sewers are part of city planning, flooding is inevitable as 100-year storms and worse become more frequent.

Why is there such a rush to build more motels, apartment complexes, shopping centers, and residential developments in Duluth when the population has only risen by about 4,000 in the last 25 years? We are paving over an increasing amount of green space and cutting down an increasing number of trees. The fact that we need fewer impermeable surfaces and more trees and more green space must become a routine choice in city planning if we are to do our part to thwart the climate crisis.

Phil Fitzpatrick

Duluth