Natural & Beneficial Functions of the Floodplain

Wetland areas and buffer areas adjacent to open spaces help reduce flood damage because floodwaters in a natural floodplain are permitted to spread over a large area and open spaces provide floodwater storage. It is our job to help preserve natural areas. These natural areas also filter nutrients and impurities from stormwater runoff and promote infiltration and aquifer recharge. By preserving natural areas, fish and wildlife habitats are protected to provide breeding and feeding grounds.

Natural areas can be more effective at controlling or attenuating flooding and can be less expensive over the long run than traditional flood control structures. See also:

  • A Unified National Program for Floodplain Management (FEMA-248 (1994)
  • Protecting Floodplain Resources: A Guidebook for Communities (FEMA 268, June 1996)

Some Natural Functions of Floodplains

Water Resources

  • Natural Flood and Erosion Control
    • Provide flood storage and conveyance
    • Reduce flood velocities
    • Reduce peak flows
    • Reduce sedimentation
  • Water Quality Maintenance
    • Filter nutrients and impurities from runoff
    • Process organic wastes
    • Moderate temperature fluctuations
  • Groundwater Recharge
    • Promote infiltration and aquifer recharge
    • Reduce frequency and duration of low surface flows

Biological Resources

  • Biological Productivity
    • Promote vegetative growth through rich alluvial soils
    • Maintain biodiversity
    • Maintain the integrity of ecosystems
  • Fish and Wildlife Habitats
    • Provide breeding and feeding grounds
    • Create and enhance waterfowl habitat
    • Protect habitats for rare and endangered species