Floodplain Management

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Flooding in the Carson River Watershed is a natural process that occurs on a regular basis. It is also one of the most devastating and costly natural events that our communities face. Serious flooding can happen approximately every 10-20 years and often occurs after rain-on-snow events or summer thunderstorms. The Carson River is unique; there is extremely limited upstream water storage capacity or capability, and there are no flood control structures within the river.  However, open floodplains, especially in Hope Valley, Carson Valley, and Dayton Valley, provide our watershed with the best flood control mechanisms available!

Check out our “Floodplains As Community Assets” Videos!

During a flood, open floodplain benefits our watershed by storing and slowing flood waters; helping protect our natural resources such as drinking water and wildlife habitat; and avoiding costly damages to structures associated with more developed lands. Protecting the natural functions and values of our floodplain areas are central to maintaining a “living river” and limiting the devastating property loss from flooding in our watershed. In 2003, the University of Cooperative Extension surveyed CRC members to identify the most important issues that are facing our watershed.

Carson Water Subconservancy District (CWSD) has housed and partially funded the CRC/Watershed program manager since 1999. The Watershed program manager works closely with our partners through the Carson River Coalition (CRC) stakeholder process to coordinate, plan and fund numerous plans & studies to create watershed-wide solutions that reduce our flood risk and protect our floodplain. CWSD coordinates stakeholders throughout the watershed through CRC Forums and working group meetings. The Floodplain Management Working Group meets regularly address floodplain management in the Carson River Watershed.

concern, reconfirmed by the CRC in 2012, is as follows:

“Protect the floodplain from future development. Once the floodplain and especially the river’s meander belt corridor are impacted by development, the river loses the ability to reestablish its natural functions.  Agricultural fields near the channel are critical for floodwater attenuation, ground water recharge, non-point source pollution buffering and
providing habitat for wildlife.”

In 2005, CWSD signed the Cooperative Technical Partner Agreement with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In 2012, the various counties located along the Carson River, State and Federal agencies entered into a Risk MAP Charter agreement with FEMA.  The Charter agreement enables FEMA, CWSD, and counties to work on flood related issues on a watershed basis instead on a county by county basis.  This was the first Charter Agreement in FEMA Region 9 and is a blueprint for other regional cooperation programs.

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