About Floodplains by Design
Why floodplains matter
Floodplains by Design (FbD) is an ambitious public-private partnership that includes:
- A multi-million dollar capital grant program led by the Department of Ecology,
- Dozens of local agencies, tribes, NGOs, and landowners who build partnerships to plan and implement projects and are continually working to improve floodplain resilience,
- And an NGO “backbone” team led by Bonneville Environmental Foundation with support from American Rivers and others, that seeks to sustain and grow integrated floodplain management policy and practice in Washington State.
Together, partners seek to reduce flood damage, improve working lands, and restore habitat along Washington’s streams and rivers. Integrated floodplain management requires collaboration across interests and engagement over the long term.
Since 2013, the Washington State Legislature has appropriated $216 million to support large-scale, multiple-benefit projects across the state through the Department of Ecology’s Floodplains by Design grant program. These projects have leveraged tens of millions of additional local, federal, and private dollars to move everyone closer to their goals.
Integrated floodplain management builds upon a foundation of relationships and knowledge nurtured by tribal members and cultures for thousands of years. Tribal members and staff continue to play a key role in shaping, guiding and transforming our floodplain systems in response to significant harm created through colonization over the last 200 years.
As the pace and magnitude of extreme weather events increases and development pressures grow, the opportunity that integrated floodplains management presents only becomes clearer and more compelling.
“It’s rare when a project is able to benefit a community in so many ways as the Riverbend Project. Besides moving families in a flood zone out of harm’s way this project protects critical infrastructure and reduces the effects of flooding on other families and businesses downstream. At the same time it creates spawning and rearing habitat for threatened salmon species. It’s a WIN, WIN, WIN, WIN!”
The Department of Ecology has two grant programs that support integrated floodplain management: Floodplains by Design (FbD), the primary grant program for projects that help communities live better in their floodplains; and the Flood Control Assistance Account Program (FCAAP) to assist local jurisdictions with comprehensive floodplain management planning and implementing actions to mitigate flood hazards.
The FbD Backbone Team is led by Bonneville Environmental Foundation, in partnership with American Rivers, The Nature Conservancy, and dedicated contractor experts. The backbone team supports local, regional, and federal partners to advance integrated floodplain management through the FbD grant program and complementary funding sources.
The FbD Network
Floodplains by Design is a collaborative network that consists of tribal nations, local governments, state and federal agencies, non-profit organizations, special service districts, communities and academics, brought together by a common interest in reducing flood risk and improving the health of Washington’s river systems. Through their efforts, the network is shaping the future of floodplain management, integrating ecological restoration with flood risk reduction, and fostering resilient communities in the face of climate change and increasing flood hazards.