Floodplains by Design

Floodplains by Design (FbD) is a private-public partnership led by The Nature Conservancy, the State of Washington Department of Ecology, and the Puget Sound Partnership aimed at reducing flood risk and restoring habitat - for salmon recovery and other needs - to Washington state’s major river corridors. Floodplains by Design works to help communities collaborate across entire watersheds to adapt to increasing flood events and benefit the natural environment simultaneously. FbD coordinates state and federal funding for local solutions, facilitates integrated floodplain management, and supports large-scale, multiple-benefit projects that protect, restore, and improve the resiliency of floodplains across the state. 

As of 2020, some of the adaptation successes supported by the program include: 

  • funded projects in 15 counties across the state of Washington
  • flood risk reduced in 38 communities
  • 700 residences removed from high- risk floodplain areas
  • Salmon habitat and natural riverine processes restored on 25 miles of river
  • 2,500 acres of floodplain reconnected
  • 500 acres protected for long-term agricultural use, and more.

Floodplains by Design includes a facilitated, tailored approach to integrated floodplain planning, implementation, and management. The FbD approach includes bringing together multiple stakeholders for structured conversations to share various values and needs and to collaboratively develop common goals and a set of actions to meet those needs. FbD promotes policy actions and secure funding to support on-the-ground projects. Each year the Washington State Legislature appropriates millions of dollars to advance the multiple-benefit approach to floodplain management through the FbD grant program administered by the Department of Ecology. FbD helps identify and develop metrics for monitoring for different needs, and informing an iterative process of adaptive management for resilient floodplains.


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