Functions of Floodplains

RETURN TO FLOODPLAIN MANAGEMENT HOME

image010The floodplains within the City of Birmingham are an important natural asset. These relatively low, natural areas next to streams, rivers, and lakes periodically flood and, in doing so, provide a wide range of benefits to both human and natural systems. Some natural and beneficial functions of the floodplain include:

  • Storage and conveyance of stormwater.
  • Reduction of flood velocities and flood peaks, wind and wave impacts, and soil erosion and sedimentation.
  • Improvement of water quality by filtering nutrients and impurities from stormwater runoff.
  • Improvement of groundwater supply and quality that helps maintain and improve conditions for municipal and private wells.
  • Breeding and feeding grounds and habitats for many plant and animal species.
  • Open space areas for parks, greenways, hiking, camping, fishing, boating, bird-watching, picnicking, jogging, cycling, nature observing, outdoor laboratories for education, scientific study and research.
  • Impurities from stormwater runoff.
  • Improvement of groundwater supply and quality that helps maintain and improve conditions for municipal and private wells.
  • Breeding and feeding grounds and habitats for many plant and animal species.
  • Open space areas for parks, greenways, hiking, camping, fishing, boating, bird-watching, picnicking, jogging, cycling, nature observing, outdoor laboratories for education, scientific study and research.

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Indeed, the natural floodplains of Birmingham are one of our most delicate and treasured assets. Please do your part to preserve and protect them. Disruption of any one part of this system can have long-term and far-reaching consequences on the functioning of the entire system. The lack of understanding of the overall natural system and its component processes can contribute to significant alteration of the natural functions of floodplains, and in many cases to the degradation and destruction of these resources.

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Natural areas are publicly-owned and are open for passive, natural resource-based recreational public uses such as hiking, bird watching, nature study and photography. For more information on natural areas for recreational use, please click on the link below.

http://birminghamal.org/outdoors/nature/

No Dumping/No Discharge

Because of the importance of floodplains and the many benefits they provide, the City of Birmingham Alabama enacted regulations to protect these areas, making it ILLEGAL to throw away or discharge anything into the waters in the City of Birmingham. Section 11-3-23 of the Birmingham City Code prohibits “criminal littering” in any public or private waters or property. If you see dumping or debris in any of the private or public waters, contact the Department of Public Works at (205) 254-6314 or call 311, as the debris may increase flooding on your property.

The importance of maintaining natural floodplains is Extremely Human development and industrialization take a toll on the natural functions of the floodplains. Development in the floodplains cause decreases in water quality, loss of wildlife habitats and an increase in severity and frequency of flood losses. Understanding the importance of maintaining the natural functions of floodplains can lead to better floodplain management approaches that will better protect the natural and beneficial functions of floodplains.

The City of Birmingham set out goals and criteria tailored to the specific needs of our watersheds, with the intent to maintain environmental sustainability and reduce flood risk.  Because we are a community participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) we provide strict guidance so activities would not increase the perceived need for government attention to flood control.

Whenever a development project is proposed in the regulatory floodplain, the property owner must obtain a floodplain development permit from the City of Birmingham The City’s Floodplain Overlay District located in the Zoning Ordinance Chapter 8.

Resources

The following resources and links can provide a better understanding of the importance of maintaining floodplains:

Natural and Beneficial Functions of Floodplains

Protecting Floodplain Resources – A Guidebook for Communities

ASFPM Natural & Beneficial Functions of Floodplains