Beneficial Functions of Floodplains

Flooding is a natural function of a floodplain. People have been attracted to the Willamette Valley for many reasons related to the benefits provided by floodplains. Our rivers and floodplains have provided our community with transportation, industry, food and recreation.

 Natural Area - Creek Floodplains are important for the natural storage and conveyance of flood waters, the protection of water quality, groundwater recharge and the preservation of our local ecosystem. They provide both physical and biological benefits. Preserved floodplains reduce the severity and frequency of floods. They can also provide opportunities to learn about the natural environment and for recreational opportunities.
Examples are the West Eugene Wetlands preservation project, Delta Ponds and the bike paths along the Willamette River. Floodplains maintained in a natural state can slow stormwater runoff and help filter non-point source water pollution.

Natural Flood and Erosion Control
Over the centuries, floodplains develop their own ways to handle flooding and erosion with natural features that provide floodwater storage and conveyance, reduce flood velocities and flood peaks, and curb sedimentation. Natural controls on flooding and erosion help to maintain water quality. Floodplains do this by filtering nutrients and impurities from runoff, processing organic wastes and moderating temperature fluctuations. These natural controls also recharge groundwater by promoting infiltration and refreshing aquifers.

Biologic Resources and Functions
Floodplains enhance biological productivity by supporting a high rate of plant growth. This helps to maintain biodiversity and the integrity of ecosystems. Floodplains provide excellent habitats for fish and wildlife by serving as breeding and feeding grounds.
Societal Resources and Functions
Floodplains enhance the quality of life for those living and visiting our community, a role that can be undervalued. Parks, bike paths, open spaces, wildlife conservation areas and the aesthetic features they provide are important to many citizens. Assets like these help make our community more appealing to potential employers, investors, residents, property owners and tourists.

Flood Hazard Information Assistance
The City of Eugene provides free information regarding the flood hazard for specific sites within our community and related issues at the Permit & Information Center. We can be reached by phone at 682-8400 or in person at 99 W. 10th Avenue. We are open to the public from 9 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday. We strive to return all calls within one business day.