Why Floodplains?

Floodplains matter.

Ask Washingtonians if they think much about rivers and floodplains and perhaps most will say no. But they are one of the state’s most valuable assets, delivering us a wealth of economic, natural and social benefits. Enjoying clean water? Iconic salmon runs? Local fruit and vegetables? We have our rivers and floodplains to thank.

But as our population and economy grows and our climate shifts, dramatic changes have altered the very nature of our river systems. We’ve filled in or cut off wetland habitat that was home to once-plentiful fish and wildlife. We’ve changed the shape and flow of our rivers, disrupting the ancient connection of fresh water to floodplains and the sea.

The consequences are catching up to us: salmon runs are diminished or extinct, family farms are rapidly disappearing, poor water quality frequently closes and shellfish beds. Floodplain communities are now experiencing so-called “100 year floods” every few years, and climate models don’t predict a rosier future.

Our region’s rivers, infrastructure, and communities need a new approach.

Joining forces to do more, faster.

The problems we face are not new. They’re over a hundred years in the making. And while there is no one-size-fits-all fix, there’s an urgent need to act now to make changes that will set success into motion.

That means we need a social movement that can bring minds and muscle together, delivering on-the-ground actions that can meet local needs and stand the test of time.

We seek out places and projects where floodplain protection and restoration will maximize benefits to communities and nature. Projects that bring together people interested in reducing the risk of damaging floods with people interested in restoring ecosystems. Together they work side by side with local landowners and others to realize a new vision that works for all of us.

Floodplains by Design is a public-private partnership led by:

For more information, contact: INFO@FLOODPLAINSBYDESIGN.ORG
THE NATURE CONSERVANCY, 74 WALL STREET, SEATTLE, WA 98121