A Guide for Buying and Managing Shoreland

A Guide for Buying and Managing Shoreland

Section 13: Floodplain Management

Also see the Floodplain Management Program.

What is a floodplain and what should I know about buying property within it?

Under state law, the floodplain is considered to be the land adjoining lakes and rivers that is covered by the "100-year" or "regional" flood. This flood is considered to be flood that has a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year. Using sophisticated engineering and meteorological techniques, it is possible to calculate the magnitude of such a flood along those rivers where long-term flood records have been kept. Various government agencies conduct these studies, and as they become available, local communities are required by state law to adopt floodplains zoning ordinances.

The natural floodplain is an important part of our water system. It affects storm runoff, water quality, vegetative diversity, wildlife habitat, and aesthetic qualities of our rivers and lakes. Any alteration of the floodplain should be carefully evaluated. The intended use should be appropriate to the site selected. The following information about floodplains and local zoning codes deals with restrictions on developing in or near floodplains. Always remember that the least amount of alteration to the natural system is usually the safest and most ecologically sound development decision.

When buying or managing property on a river in a community that has adopted floodplain zoning, consider the following points: floodway location, flood fringe location, flood protection elevation, flood proofing, and flood insurance.

Floodplain Boundary