Floodplains are the lands adjacent to a river that become regularly flooded during high river flows. As a result of this periodic flooding, floodplains are among the most biodiverse and productive lands on the planet. Floodplains also reduce downstream flooding, filter excessive nutrients, and replenish groundwater. Healthy mountain meadows function similarly, reducing peak floods, storing water, and improving water quality and groundwater recharge.

Unfortunately, connected floodplains and healthy meadows are scarce throughout the country. American Rivers is leading a national effort to reconnect rivers to their floodplains and restore healthy meadows through our advocacy, partnership-building and project management. The resources below support American Rivers’ approach to floodplain and meadow restoration.

Floodplain Restoration Resources

A Multi-Benefit Approach to Flood Protection in California (American Rivers)

A New Type of River Management is Coming! (Video by Rhone Mediterranean Corsica Water Agency)

Association of State Floodplain Managers

Association of State Floodplain Managers Natural and Beneficial Functions Committee

Association of State Wetland Managers, Natural Floodplain Functions Alliance

Building Smart in the Floodplain (U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit)

Economic Outcomes of Urban Floodplain Restoration (American Rivers)

Give Rivers Room (American Rivers)

Mitigation Matters: Policy Solutions to Reduce Local Flood Risk (Pew Trusts)

Mountain Meadows and Clean Water Supplies (American Rivers)

Multi-benefit Flood Management in California’s Central Valley (American Rivers) (Storymap)

Planning for the Future in a Floodplain (U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit)

Poll: Nearly 75% of Voters Back Flood Reforms (Pew Charitable Trusts)

Reconnecting Rivers to Floodplains: Returning Natural Functions to Restore Rivers and Benefit Communities (Loos and Shader 2016)
To See How Levees Increase Flooding, We Built Our Own (ProPublica 2018)

Using Nature to Address Flooding (Naturally Resilient Communities)

What Is Floodplains By Design? (Video by The Nature Conservancy)

Why We Need to Restore Floodplains (American Rivers)

The following state and regional programs may serve as models for effective floodplain restoration and/or management planning:

Central Valley Flood Protection Plan (CA Department of Water Resources)

Floodplains by Design (Washington Public-Private Partnership)

Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Rivers Program