Protect natural floodplain functions  

Protect natural floodplain functions

What is a floodplain?

Floods are natural and floodplains are necessary to every river and coastal system. Floodplains, typically defined as any land susceptible to being inundated by flood waters, can also be regarded as the land needed by a river or stream to convey and store flood waters.

Preserving the floodplain as open space allows it to serve these primary natural functions and many other important functions. Keeping the floodplain free of development – free of buildings and infrastructure – means no flood insurance claims, no closed businesses, no homeless residents and that the community can return to normal quickly.

The value of wetlands.

Wetlands function as natural sponges that trap and slowly release surface water, rain, snowmelt, groundwater and flood waters. Trees, root mats, and other wetland vegetation also slow the speed of flood waters and distribute them more slowly over the floodplain. This combined water storage and braking action lowers flood heights and reduces erosion. Wetlands within and downstream of urban areas are particularly valuable, counteracting the greatly increased rate and volume of surface water runoff from pavement and buildings. The holding capacity of wetlands helps control floods and prevents water logging of crops. Preserving and restoring wetlands, together with other water retention, can often provide the level of flood control otherwise provided by expensive dredge operations and levees. 

For more information, visit "Flood Protection" http://water.epa.gov/type/wetlands/flood.cfm