The Pinellas County Floodplain Management Program was developed to protect and improve the County’s natural and beneficial floodplains and to reduce flood losses due to major storms and heavy rainfall for citizens living and working in the County.
Pinellas County’s natural floodplain areas, including wetlands such as hardwood swamps, cypress swamps, freshwater ponds and marshes, mangrove swamps and salt marshes, lessen the effects of storm and flood waters. They provide natural storage areas for flood waters and buffer the coastal areas from storm surges. Natural floodplain areas also provide excellent habitat for diverse wildlife and enhance water quality.
Natural Floodplain Functions:
Pinellas County uses several approaches to protect its natural floodplain areas in order to prevent alteration of the natural functions of floodplains and to diminish the damaging effects of flood waters to buildings due to major storms and heavy rainfall. Among these approaches are development and implementation of the:
Pinellas County’s Comprehensive Plan and watershed plans serve as guides for protecting and managing environmental resources, achieving improvements in water quality, and providing flood protection when needed.
The County has adopted and enforces floodplain management ordinances, particularly with respect to new construction, which is an important element in making flood insurance available to home and business owners. The County also enforces an ordinance prohibiting dumping of any waste, including chemicals, oil, sewage, trash and yard waste, into the street, storm sewer system or into any water body in the county to reduce pollution and localized flooding.
In addition, the County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System and has a Program for Public Information, both of which contribute to significant flood insurance premium reductions and help you prevent or reduce flood losses.
Each year, thousands of properties flood repeatedly nationwide. Often built before floodplain management regulations took effect, these properties continue to place a severe strain on the National Flood Insurance fund. FEMA has several financial assistance programs available to communities and interested property owners to acquire, retrofit, or fund other flood mitigation projects. See mitigation information.