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What is a Floodplain?

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Picture of a river through a cityThe land surrounding a body of water is known as a floodplain. In this area water collects, pools and flows during the course of natural events. When floodplains are preserved or restored, as is the trend now, they provide many benefits to our residents and the surrounding eco-systems. Floodplains absorb rain and floodwater, reduce the number and severity of floods, and manage stormwater runoff, which minimizes water pollution. They can have the added benefit of enhancing our natural surroundings.

Florida state regulations protect natural areas that reduce the risks associated with flooding. Yet, it is a fact of modern living that development has occurred atop floodplains. The City of Fort Lauderdale is careful to protect its local floodplains, such as the New River, Middle River, and North Fork of the New River. These areas are home to native pond apples, leather ferns, mangroves, cypress stands, and other deep-rooted native plants that provide natural cover and filter out pollutants and chemicals from the water, which helps decrease flood velocity and protect water quality.

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Stormwater Calculator is a desktop application that estimates the annual amount of rainwater and frequency of runoff from a specific site anywhere in the United States.

EPA National Stormwater Calculator

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