A floodplain is the lowland area adjacent to a ditch, river, creek, stream, or lake that can be expected to flood occasionally.
Geological processes such as erosion and sedimentation redistribute toxic pollutants introduced to the landscape by mining, agriculture, construction, and other human activities. A significant portion of these contaminants is insoluble, adsorbing to soils and sediments after being released. By allowing floodwater to slow down and sediments settle out in the flood plain, water quality is improved as the natural vegetation filters out impurities and uses excess nutrients.
In Nova Scotia, there are two types of floodplain: meadows and seasonally flooded flats.
Meadows form along small streams in woodland and on low lying agricultural land. They are characterized by dense stands of grasses, including blue-joint grass and woolly Scirpus. Rushes, sedges and broad-leafed plants, such as meadow rue, may also be present.
Seasonally flooded flats often form at points where large rivers slow down as they enter lakes. This kind of floodplain is much larger than the meadow because it experiences more intense flooding. Overall, vegetation is similar to meadows, with tall grasses, like blue-joint, being dominant. However, because of their large size and varied topography, seasonally flooded flats support more diverse plant life than do meadows. Trees, shrubs, ferns and marsh plants, such as cattail, may also be present.
Call to action
1. On August 14, 2018, the municipality published the findings of the Sackville Rivers Floodplains Study (2017). This study involved an assessment of the Sackville River and the Little Sackville River, and their watersheds, to produce updated floodplain maps. Areas at risk of flooding were evaluated using updated information and computer modelling that accurately predicts the impact of rainstorms on the rivers.
View the interactive map to see if your property falls in the vicinity of the Sackville Rivers floodplains.
2. What can you do to help floodplains?
- Conserve the natural vegetation growing along the sides of watercourses
- Do not interfere with the natural flowage of rivers
- Limit activities on areas of floodplain
- Use agricultural practices that conserve soil, water and vegetation.
- Install proper river crossings for livestock, people and machinery