Everyone lives in a watershed regardless of whether their property is in a designated floodplain or not.
A watershed is simply a land area that collects and feeds water runoff into a channel or drain.
This water can come in the form of rain, snow, irrigation, etc. There are a number of man made
features which feed water runoff from the watershed into our rivers, lakes or streams. These
include drainage swales, paved surfaces such as streets or driveways, storm sewers, etc.
Located in these watersheds are areas designated as floodway and floodplain. The floodway is
the channel or area that conveys water, i.e. a river, stream or creek. The floodplain is that area
that is below the base flood elevation and is susceptible to flooding. By their very definition, these
areas require special care and attention. They serve a very important function in protecting and enhancing
Floodplains and floodways hold large quantities of water after rain or snow events. In their natural state these native areas,
with their deep rooted native plants, filter out pollutants and chemicals from the water further protecting
our riversí water quality. Much of the floodplain area within the Village has been developed however. Because these areas are at
low elevations, they are prone to flooding. Natural site features such as wetlands with native plants and hydric
soils have long disappeared and they no longer can function as they should. Landowners are encouraged to plant
native plants on their property. These plants will assist with absorption and filtration of water. They will
help to hold soils to keep erosion and siltation from occurring in the waterway. Landowners are also encouraged
to remove any obstructions which might restrict water conveyance during high water events.
Because we all live in a watershed we all contribute to the water runoff. We need to be aware of our impact.
We must not wash pollutants or chemicals into the stormsewers. These stormsewers feed into our open waterways. We
should strive to keep water that falls on our property on our property. This can be done through directing water
runoff from our roofs, sump pumps and driveways into rain barrels, rain gardens, open vegetated swales or other
features where that water can be used in a constructive way or absorbed by plants. We should consider planting
plants on our property that are native to our area. They require less watering and absorb more water than many
non-native plants. We need to look for ways to reduce impermeable surfaces so that water can reach the soil rather
than run off causing flooding.