County Information Desk:
The natural floodplain areas, 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.
Floodplain management is the operation of a community program of corrective and preventative measures for reducing flood damage. These measures take a variety of forms and generally include requirements for zoning, subdivision or building, and special-purpose floodplain ordinances.
A community's agreement to adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances, particularly with respect to new construction, is an important element in making flood insurance available to home and business owners.
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. Among these approaches are: implementing the goals and policies of the Pinellas County Comprehensive Plan, enforcing the Land Development Regulations and conducting site plan reviews.
To encourage communities to establish sound floodplain management programs that recognize and encourage community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements, the Community Rating System (CRS) was created. This program provides communities with discounts to flood insurance rates.
The watershed plans guide the County in protecting and managing environmental resources, achieving improvements in water quality in the waters of the county and providing flood protection when needed.