The National Benefits Hub

Research that Supports Recreation

← Home

Advanced Search

Open space protection and flood mitigation: A national study

Key Message

Protecting areas within the floodplain significantly reduces property damage caused by flooding events. Communities protecting open space under the Community Rating System saved, on average $200,000 per year in property damage caused by floods.

Source

Brody, Samuel D., and Highfield, Wesley E. (2013). Open space protection and flood mitigation: A national study. Land Use Policy. 32: 89-95

Purpose

Open space protection is increasingly being used for flood mitigation at the local level. However, little if any empirical research has been conducted on the effectiveness of this land use policy in terms of reducing actual damage caused by floods. This study addresses this issue by statistically examining the performance of open space dedicated for flood mitigation purposes across a nationally representative sample of local jurisdictions. The amount of open space protection designated under FEMA's Community Rating System (CRS) program for 450 local communities was measured, and then the degree to which this strategy reduces insured flood damages over an eleven-year period from 1999 to 2009 was tested.

Evidence

Results indicate that, even when controlling for environmental, socioeconomic, and policy-related variables, open space protection is an important land use planning tool for mitigating the adverse impacts of flood events in the U.S. The findings provide insights for local planners and decision makers interested in pursuing an avoidance strategy of flood mitigation, where people and structures are essentially removed from the most vulnerable locations.

Protecting areas within the floodplain significantly reduces property damage caused by flooding events. Communities protecting open space under the CRS saved, on average $200,000 per year in property damage caused by floods.

Benefit Statements / Outcomes

Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

Get Updates By Email