Floodplains serve a beneficial purpose for our quality of life. These low areas are where rainfall goes to drain. When the rainfall drains into the ground, it helps reduce flooding and recharges our drinking water supply. Some examples of floodplains include the areas surrounding our lakes (Lake Alfred, Lake Rochelle, Lake Haines) and areas in the Green Swamp.
These floodplains also serve as filters of stormwater runoff as it seeps through the ground and into our aquifer. The natural vegetation filters out impurities and uses excess nutrients. This aquifer is our only source of drinking water, and filtering helps contain pollution before it reaches our aquifer! It is important that we appreciate our floodplains, and try to maintain, preserve and restore these areas whenever possible.
Floodplain land and adjacent waters combine to form a complex, dynamic physical and biological system found nowhere else. When portions of floodplains are preserved in (or restored to) their natural state, they provide many benefits to both human and natural systems. For example, by allowing floodwater to slow down, sediments settle out, thus maintaining water quality.
These benefits range from providing aesthetic pleasure to reducing the number and severity of floods, helping handle stormwater runoff and minimizing non-point water pollution.
Such natural processes cost far less money than it would take to build facilities to correct flood, stormwater, water quality and other community problems.
To learn more about your area, visit the Southwest Florida Water Management Districts website.