Floodplain Beneficial Functions 

Floods are Natural Processes

Floods are natural processes that renew the environment by creating wetland and riparian areas that are important for many services and amenities that people enjoy.  These include, but  are not limited to:

  • Improving water and air quality;
  • Replenishing groundwater resources; 
  • Supporting wildlife and aquatic habitat;
  • Providing recreation opportunities;
  • Establishing fertile soil needed for growing nutritious food; and,
  • Buffering adjacent land areas from flood waters and associated hazards. 
 Griffin Creek Fish Spawning    Daisy Creek Planting     Great Blue Heron   Jackson Creek Restoration 

When Development Encounters Nature

When floodplain development occurs in a natural floodplain area without careful planning and mitigation, the addition of fill and impervious surface area increases flood heights on existing properties and impairs beneficial functions that floodplains normally provide.  These impacts can place increasing numbers of people at risk and cause flood insurance rates to soar!


The good news is that there are actions that you can take to reduce impacts associated with existing development in the floodplain and help transform streams and their floodplains into a community asset.  Remember that everyone working together makes a positive difference!


Here are some action ideas to get started:

  • Plant native trees, shrubs, and groundcover to increase plant and animal biodiversity, reduce runoff, and improve the views around your home.  In addition, trees (when placed in the right location and properly maintained) enhance property values, can promote energy savings, and help clean the air;
  • Install a rain garden to infiltrate rain water instead of allowing it to runoff into the concrete storm drain system, which sends water (and all the pollutants it picks up) straight to the nearest stream without treatment; and,
  • Keep your yard and stream corridor area free from litter and other debris that can get carried away during a flood event.  It all goes downstream and eventually ends up in the Rogue River and Pacific Ocean where it harms wildlife, degrades water and marine habitat quality, and litters our beaches with junk.

Helpful Resources & Flood Related Information 

The Oregon Rain Garden Guide


Southern Oregon Riparian Tree Planting Guide

Stream & Wetland Enhancement Guide


Benefits of Trees Fact Sheet







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