Recognizing the natural and beneficial functions of floodplains can help to
reduce flooding. Floodplains are a natural component of the City of Salem
environment. Understanding and protecting the natural functions of floodplains
reduces flood damage and protects resources.
When flooding spreads out across the floodplain, its energy is dissipated,
resulting in lower flood flows downstream, reduced erosion of the stream bank
and channel, deposition of sediments higher in the watershed, and improved
groundwater recharge. Floodplains are scenic, serve as valued wildlife habitats,
and are suitable for farming. Poorly planned development in floodplains can lead
to stream bank erosion, loss of valuable property, increased risk of flooding to
downstream properties, and degradation of water quality.