Floodplains—relatively flat areas that border a river and are prone to flooding—are some of the most valuable places on Earth, both for people and wildlife. Fertile soils deposited by rivers make these areas extremely productive for agriculture. Floodplain forests and marshes are among the richest habitats for wildlife, both in terms of diversity and numbers. Within these areas, species like fish and waterfowl thrive, benefiting important commercial and recreational industries, too. (Floodplains provide lots of benefits to people and nature.)
The goal of Floodplains by Design is to ensure floodplains are used and managed in ways that enable them to provide these valuable services, while maintaining or even improving flood protection. Read more about this in Disastrous Spending: Federal Disaster-Relief Rises amid more Extreme Weather, from the Center for American Progress. Many of the principles presented here are also supported by this scientific report.
Listed below are features that help explain what Floodplains by Design is, what it looks like on the ground, and its benefits.
This is what we're talking about.
Watch an animated video that explains integrated reservoir and floodplain management.
A Nature Conservancy staffer reports from the scene of a flood.
What are floodplains worth?