Water overflowing a stream bank, or flooding, is a natural process and essential for healthy streams. A floodplain is the area directly next to the stream that floods during heavy rain events.

During the rainy season, a stream needs access to its floodplain, so that the extra water doesn’t stay in the stream channel. If the stream doesn’t have access to its floodplain, the banks and stream bed erode away to make way for the confined and fast moving water. This is often why stream banks become steep, and stream channels narrow and deep. By accessing its floodplain, water is allowed to spread out, slow down, recharge water in the ground, and be filtered through plants and soil. Space to store water is increasingly important to protect against flooding due to heavy rains and extreme weather.

There are many perks to living near water. It provides habitat for birds, food for fish and the seasons bring visual changes. It’s exciting to watch! But there are also challenges, especially if your home was built before regulations required building outside of the floodplain.

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