What Is a Floodplain? Floodplains are low-lying lands next to rivers, streams, and oceans. A floodplain is any land area susceptible to being inundated by water from any source. When left in a natural state, floodplain systems store and dissipate floods without adverse impacts on humans, buildings, roads and other infrastructure. Natural floodplains add to our quality of life by providing open space, habitat for wildlife, fertile land for agriculture, and opportunities for fishing, hiking and biking.
Benefits of Floodplains
Healthy floodplains yield multiple benefits for the community including flood protection and erosion control, improved water quality, recharged aquifers, improved wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities.
Flood Protection & Erosion Control
Floodplains provide a river more room as it rises. They accommodate temporary storage of flood water, reducing flood peaks and erosion potential.
Improved Water Quality
When inundated with water, floodplains act as natural filters, removing excess sediment and nutrients
Outside of a river's main channel, water flow is slowed and has more time to seep into the ground where it can replenish underground water sources.
Floodplains are home to some of the most biologically rich habitats on Earth. They provide spawning grounds for fish and critical areas of rest and foraging for migrating waterfowl and birds.
Many outdoor recreational activities - like fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, wildlife watching and boating - are made possible by and greatly enhanced by the natural processes of rivers and healthy floodplains.