Natural & Beneficial Functions of Local Floodplains
Floodplains and adjacent waters form a complex physical and biological system that can benefit both human and natural systems. These benefits include helping to reduce the severity of floods, help handle stormwater runoff, and even filter out sediments and impurities from the floodwaters for better water quality. The natural process of what the floodplains do for our community cost far less than building flood, stormwater, and water quality facilities. Plus these floodplain areas in the City of Georgetown, like Morgan Park, can even serve recreational functions as well.
Natural Flood and Erosion Control
Over the centuries, flooplains develop their own ways to handle flooding and erosion with natural features that provide floodwater storage and conveyance, reduce flood velocities and flood peaks, and curb sedimentation.
Natural controls on flooding and erosion help to maintain water quality by filtering nutrients and impurities from runoff, processing organic wastes and moderating temperature fluctuations.
These natural controls also contribute to recharging groundwater by promoting infiltration and refreshing aquifers, and by reducing the frequency and duration of low surface flows.
Biologic Resources and Functions
Floodplains enhance biological productivity by supporting a high rate of plant growth. This helps to maintain biodiversity and the integrity of ecosystems.
Floodplains provide excellent habitats for fish and wildlife by serving as breeding and feeding grounds. They also create and enhance waterfowl habitats, and help to protect habitats for rare and endangered species.
Societal Resources and Functions
People benefit from floodplains through the food they provide, the recreational opportunities they afford and the scientific knowledge gained in studying them.
Wild and cultivated products are harvested in flooplains, which are enhanced agricultural land made rich by sediment deposits. They provide open space, which may be used to restore and enhance forest lands, or for recreational opportunities or simple enjoyment of their aestheitic beauty.
Floodplains provide areas for scientific study and outdoor education. They contain cultural resources such as historic or archaeological sites, and thus provide opportunities for environmental and other kinds of studies.