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Where my home sits, there is a lot of sandy soil. In fact, if I want to plant anything, I need to add potting soil first. The reason why our ground is so sandy is because we live across the street from a large inland lake, but not only that, we live in a lake-heavy saturated area of Michigan. Granted, they are all inland lakes, ranging from small lakes to big ponds and large to medium lakes that connect via The Huron River, which feeds them all. So, nonetheless, our soil in these parts is exceptionally loose and sandy.

The question, though, is, if my home is on a higher elevation in a sandy soil area, do we need to worry about flood risk management? Let’s find out what the experts say.

The State of Michigan provides resources for Floods and Floodplain Management through The Department of Natural Resources (DNR). According to the DNR, “The standard flood for floodplain management is the 1% chance (100-year) flood. It is possible to go a very long period of time without experiencing the 1% chance flood. It is also possible to have 1% chance floods two years in a row.

If a house is located within the 100-year floodplain, it has a 26% chance of being flooded during the life of a 30-year mortgage. “

Furthermore, the State offers various sources that may be checked to see if a floodplain map exists in your community and suggest going to Flood Insurance Rate Maps published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are available on-line, or call the FEMA helpline at 866-336-2627.

Ok, here are some methods in approaching flood risk management to consider and discuss with the appropriate experts:

The US Army Corps of Engineers on Flood Risk Management (FRM) Framework includes the following four components:

  • AWARENESS of potential risks associated with flooding events – Collaborate with communities to better understand their past experiences and concerns for future flooding.
  • ANALYSIS of flood risk – Conduct studies and investigations to better understand flood risks, such as where, when, and at what magnitude the flooding may occur, and to identify the potential impacts on community safety and property.
  • ADDRESS flood risk – Work with community leaders to determine what risk-reducing actions are feasible and cost-effective. This could range from the construction of structural, nonstructural, or nature-based projects to planning activities, such as developing evacuation plans.
  • ADJUST approach to operating and maintaining FRM structures – Monitor and re-evaluate the operation of FRM structures due to changed conditions, as needed; renourish beaches, shorelines, and streambanks; or rehabilitate FRM structures to continue providing the intended protection from flood risk.

What are the two main methods of flood management?

Flood mitigation approaches fall into two categories—structural and nonstructural. Structural forms of mitigation mitigate harm by reconstructing landscapes. They include floodwalls/seawalls, floodgates, levees, and evacuation routes.

Let’s start by discussing structural measures. As the name suggests, structural flood management focuses on physical constructions and alterations to landscapes to withstand better and control flooding situations. These methods involve the use of engineering and construction techniques to manage the flow of water and reduce the risk of damage to human settlements and infrastructure.

One of the most used structural flood management measures is the construction of floodwalls or seawalls. These are barriers built along coastlines or riverbanks to prevent floodwaters from inundating populated areas. By redirecting or containing the flow of water, floodwalls provide a physical barrier that protects communities and essential assets from the destructive forces of flooding.

For example, the Michigan DNR in particular, utilizes the planting, maintaining and monitoring of dune grass to protect shoreline erosion and minimize the impact of storm surges. Dune grass has extensive root systems that anchor and bind the sand, creating stable dunes that act as natural barriers against flooding.

Another structural approach is the installation of floodgates. These are mechanisms designed to control the flow of water in rivers or canals, allowing authorities to regulate water levels during periods of heavy rainfall or when river systems are nearing their capacity. Floodgates can be opened or closed depending on the needs of the situation, effectively managing the water flow and preventing excessive flooding.

Levees are another vital component of structural flood management. These are embankments constructed along the banks of rivers or water bodies designed to confine the flow of water within the natural channels. By preventing the water from overflowing into adjacent areas, levees provide a level of protection against flooding and limit the extent of damage that can occur to nearby communities.

In addition to these physical structures, structural flood management also includes the development and maintenance of evacuation routes. These are pre-planned routes that enable people living in flood-prone areas to evacuate to higher ground or specially designated emergency shelters safely. Evacuation routes are crucial in ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals during flooding events, minimizing the risk of casualties.

While structural measures are effective in managing floodwaters, nonstructural flood management approaches focus on strategies that do not involve physical modifications to the landscape. These methods aim to reduce the overall vulnerability of communities to floods by implementing various policies, planning practices, and public awareness campaigns.

Nonstructural flood management emphasizes land-use planning and zoning regulations, ensuring that areas prone to flooding are designated for lower-risk land uses such as parks or natural reserves. By preventing or limiting the development of critical infrastructure and residential areas in flood-prone zones, nonstructural measures help minimize the potential damage and loss caused by floods.

These measures empower individuals and communities to make informed decisions in the face of an impending flood, allowing for timely evacuation and appropriate safeguarding of assets.

What is the difference between flood control and flood management?

Flood control seeks to eliminate floods, while flood management seeks to reduce the threat from floods.

Managing floods is a critical aspect of disaster preparedness and resilience. While flood control and flood management may sound similar, they differ in their ultimate goal.

Flood management recognizes that floods are natural phenomena that cannot be eliminated entirely. Instead, the emphasis is on minimizing the harm caused by floods and working with the natural processes of the environment. Both structural and nonstructural approaches play a vital role in effective flood management.

Flood control includes structural measures, such as floodwalls, floodgates, levees, and evacuation routes, providing physical protection and control over floodwaters.

Nonstructural flood control strategies complement structural measures by focusing on land-use planning, policy development, and public education.

Effective flood management also includes policies that encourage early warning systems and emergency preparedness plans. Similarly, well-defined emergency preparedness plans ensure that communities are well-equipped to respond to and recover from flood disasters.

Public education and awareness campaigns also play a crucial role in flood management.

What are the methods of flood risk management?

In summary, flood management is a comprehensive approach that combines both structural and nonstructural measures to reduce the threat and impact of floods. By integrating engineering solutions with land-use planning, policies, early warning systems, and public education, communities can effectively prepare for, respond to, and recover from flood events.

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