Floodplain Development

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Floods and Floodplain Management

A floodplain is the part of the land where water collects, pools and flows during the course of natural events.  As the County's floodplain maps show, there are numerous areas in Lancaster that are subject to flooding.  Flooding causes hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to homes and businesses in the United States every year.  

Flood Insurance

Standard homeowner and commercial property insurance policies do not cover flood losses.  To meet the need for this vital coverage, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administers the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  The County participates in the NFIP, which makes flood insurance available to all County residents.  

Natural and Beneficial Functions of Floodplains

Natural floodplains provide flood risk reduction benefits by slowing runoff and storing flood water. They also provide other benefits of considerable economic, social, and environmental value that are often overlooked when local land-use decisions are made. 
Floodplains frequently contain wetlands and other important ecological areas which directly affect the quality of the local environment. Some of the benefits of floodplains to a functioning natural system include:

•    Fish and wildlife habitat protection
•    Natural flood and erosion control
•    Surface water quality maintenance
•    Groundwater recharge
•    Biological productivity
•    Higher quality recreational opportunities (fishing, bird watching, boating, etc.)

See the Green Guide, published by the Association of State Floodplain Managers, for more information on the benefits of natural systems and the history of floodplain development.