Floodplain Management

What is the 100-year (One-Percent) Floodplain and Regulatory Floodway?

Executive Order 11988 – Floodplain Management, and subsequent federal floodplain management guidelines mandate an evaluation of floodplain impacts.  When available, flood hazard boundary maps (National Flood Insurance Program) and flood insurance studies for the project area are used to determine the limits of the base (100-year) floodplain and the extent of encroachment.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Federal Highway Administration guidelines (23 CFR 650) have identified the base (100-year) flood as the flood having a one-percent probability of being equaled or exceeded in any given year.  The base floodplain is the area of 100-year flood hazard within a county or community.  The regulatory floodway is the channel of a stream plus any adjacent floodplain areas that must be kept free of encroachment so that the 100-year flood discharge can be conveyed without increasing the base flood elevation more than a specified amount.  FEMA has mandated that projects can cause no rise in the regulatory floodway, and a one-foot cumulative rise for all projects in the base (100-year) floodplain.  For projects that involve the state of Missouri, the State Emergency Management Agency issues floodplain development permits.  In the case of projects proposed within regulatory floodways, a "no-rise" certificate, if applicable, should be obtained prior to issuance of a permit.

How are Floodplains Beneficial?

Floodplains provide a number of important functions in the natural environment, including creating wildlife habitat, providing temporary storage of flood water, preventing heavy erosion caused by fast moving water, recharging and protecting groundwater, providing a vegetative buffer to filter contaminants, and accommodating the natural movement of streams.  MoDOT avoids or minimizes encroachment into floodplains whenever possible in order to preserve these values for the future.  MoDOT conducts engineering analyses of floodplain impacts to avoid and reduce impacts by bridging wherever possible. The use of bridges serves a dual function by reducing wetland disturbance while minimizing construction impact in the floodplain. Where feasible, the proposed crossings are located adjacent to existing road crossings where the additional impact would be minimized.

FEMA Buyout Sites

The Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, as amended by the Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1988 (The Stafford Act), identified the use of disaster relief funds under Section 404 for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), including the acquisition and relocation of flood damaged property.  The Volkmer Bill further expanded the use of HMGP funds under Section 404 to “buyout” flood damaged property, which had been affected by the Great Flood of 1993.

There are numerous restrictions on these FEMA buyout properties. No structures or improvements may be erected on these properties unless they are open on all sides.  The site shall be used only for open space purposes, and shall stay in public ownership.  These conditions and restrictions (among others), along with the right to enforce same, are deemed to be covenants running with the land in perpetuity and are binding on subsequent successors, grantees, or assigns.