Floodplain Management

What is Floodplain Management?

Flooding is the most costly natural hazard in the US in terms of causing greater loss of life and property than all other natural hazards combined. In fact, ninety percent (90%) of all disasters are flood-related.

Floodplain management is a continuous process of making decisions about whether and how floodplain lands and waters are to be used. It encompasses the choices made by owners of floodplain homes and businesses, decisions made by officials at all levels of government, development plans made by owners of commercial floodprone land, and the judgment of farmers with pastures and fields stretching to the riverbanks. The process also focuses the attention of decision makers on the relationship between human use and the conservation of natural resources.

For regulatory purposes, the floodplain is divided into two areas based on water velocity: the floodway & the flood fringe. The floodway includes the channel & the portion of the adjacent floodplain required to pass the 100-year flood without increasing flood heights. Typically, this is the most hazardous portion of the floodplain where the fastest flow of water occurs. Due to the high degree of hazard, state and local floodplain regulations require that proposed floodway developments do not block the free flow of flood water because it could dangerously increase the water’s depth & velocity.

The flood fringe is the remaining portion of the floodplain, outside of the floodway, that usually contains slow-moving or standing water. Development in the fringe will not normally interfere as much with the flow of water. Therefore, floodplain regulations for the flood fringe typically allow development to occur but require protection from the flood waters through the elevation of the buildings above the 100-year flood level, floodproofing buildings so that water cannot enter the structure and watershed improvements to assure overall flood elevation does not increase.

SKE Staff has the training, knowledge and experience to help your project navigate through the challenges faced by floodplain and floodway restrictions including the permitting requirements at the local unit of government, the MDEQ and FEMA.