Healthy floodplains can be quite beneficial to people and nature alike. Over the years, humans have mastered the maintenance of these floodplains to better control flooding, water quality and a wide variety of other factors.
Here are 6 of the biggest advantages associated with floodplains:
#1: Flood Protection
Floodplains offer rivers more room when they rise, which reduces pressure on other manmade flood protection structures, such as dams and levees.
#2: Better Water Quality
When filled with water, floodplains work like natural filters, getting rid of a lot of excess sediment and other nutrients, which can worsen water quality and increase the costs of treating that water and preparing it for human use. This water quality degradation is especially noticeable near smaller rivers and large river basins—you’ll often find dead zones where little to no life can survive because of the excess sediment carried by rivers.
#3: They Create Extremely Fertile Areas For Agriculture
Proper design and maintenance of floodplains keeps agriculture away from the areas most prone to flooding, instead targeting growth of plants and crops in specific areas that will not be lost. It should also be noted that the overabundance of nutrients when flowing in rivers might not be great for water quality, but can be massively beneficial for formers, as it makes it easier to grow thriving crops and also makes the soil softer and easier to work with.
#4: General Improvements To Habitats:
Floodplains often host some extremely biologically rich and diverse habitats. They tend to be used as spawning areas for fish, and are crucial for migrating birds and waterfowl as they search for places to rest and forage for food.
#5: Recreational Usage
There are many examples of outdoor activities that are either made possible or otherwise significantly enhanced by the presence and processes of healthy floodplains. These activities include hunting, hiking, fishing, camping, birdwatching and boating, among others. These recreational activities but millions to billions of dollars into the national economy and are especially important drivers of tourism and income in many localities throughout the nation.
#6: Refilling Aquifers
Because floodplains are located outside the river’s main channel, the water moves a whole lot slower, which gives it more time to seep into the ground. There it will replenish crucial underground water sources (known as aquifers), which can serve as primary water sources for communities and rural homes that rely on well water. These aquifers are also critical for irrigating crops on farms throughout the country.
These are just a few of the primary advantages associated with floodplains. For more information about the nutrients a floodplain brings to farmers and why floodplain management is so important, we encourage you to contact us today at Soil Advocates.