Protect Natural Floodplain Functions

Flood plains are areas adjacent to rivers, ponds, lakes, and oceans that are periodically flooded at different points in time. Floodplains are hydrologically important, environmentally sensitive, and ecologically productive areas that perform many natural functions. They contain both cultural and natural resources that are of great value to society. Flooding occurs naturally along every river and coastal areas. Flood waters can carry nutrient-rich sediments which contribute to a fertile environment for vegetation. Floodplains are beneficial for wildlife by creating a variety of habitats for fish and other animals. 

In addition, floodplains are important because of storage and conveyance, protection of water quality, and recharge of groundwater. FEMA also has a great publication available called Protecting Floodplain Resources. It provides a basic understanding of the natural resources present in floodplains and how to protect them. The following provides some of the ways to protect these important functions:

  • Maintain wetland and vegetative buffers
  • Utilize and maintain erosion control measures such as silt fences during construction
  • Don't dump in storm drains. All drains go to the bay!


The town has also worked with Save the Bay as well as a local boy scout troop to mark the stormwater drains with educational stickers and stencils. The town has mapped the entire drainage system. Using this map, volunteers from both organizations adhere stickers or paint stencils next to the storm drain to raise awareness about storm drains. These stickers and stencils state “Storm Drains Are Only For Rain.” The town maintains a map of which storm drains is maintained by the Department of Public Works

Make sure that drainage basins and outfalls are inspected to ensure they are clean and free of debris in common areas.


The RI Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) also has information available on their website at the following RIEMA. Some of the information available includes floodplain management, evacuation, preparedness, and emergency contacts. There are several links to various federal and state agencies available on the RIEMA web page as well. One of those links is to the FEMA Ready.Gov website. This website highlights how to be informed, making a plan, preparing an emergency kit, being involved in the community, and involving the kids in the community.