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Land Shopping for Civil Projects in Tx - Pt 1: Evaluating Floodplains

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

Land Shopping for Civil Projects in Tx


Choosing the right land is the foundation of any successful civil site project in Texas. The Lone Star State's diverse geography and climate variations demand careful consideration at every step. In this multi-part series, we'll explore the essential factors to look for when land shopping for civil site projects in Texas. Part 1 focuses on the significance of assessing floodplains and why it's crucial for project success.

Section 1: Understanding Texas Floodplains

Navigating Flood Risk

Texas' expansive terrain includes areas susceptible to flooding, making floodplain assessment a top priority.

Defining Floodplains

Floodplains are low-lying areas adjoining rivers, streams, or water bodies prone to periodic flooding. A deep understanding of their presence and characteristics is imperative.

Texas' Climate Extremes

Texas experiences a broad spectrum of climatic extremes, including heavy rainfall, hurricanes, droughts, and flash floods. Evaluating flood risk is pivotal for project safety and success.

Section 2: Floodplain Maps and Zoning Regulations

Utilizing Data and Regulations

Accessing floodplain maps and comprehending zoning regulations are fundamental steps in flood risk assessment.

FEMA Flood Maps

FEMA provides comprehensive flood maps delineating floodplains and flood zones. These maps serve as invaluable resources for identifying flood-prone areas.

Local Regulatory Framework

In addition to federal mandates, local authorities in Texas may have specific floodplain management ordinances. Familiarizing yourself with these regulations ensures compliance with local rules.

Section 3: Evaluating Flood Risks

Assessing Flood Hazard

Assessing flood risk involves a multi-faceted approach to gauge potential impacts on your project.

Base Flood Elevation (BFE)

BFE signifies the elevation at which floodwaters are expected to rise during a base flood event. Understanding the BFE for your site is essential for correct elevation and design.

Historical Flooding

Investigating the site's historical flooding events can provide valuable insights into potential risks. Frequent flooding may indicate a high flood vulnerability.

Soil and Drainage Conditions

Evaluate the soil's permeability and the availability of appropriate drainage systems. Adequate soil conditions and drainage can help mitigate flood-related issues.

Section 4: Floodplain Management Strategies

Mitigating Flood Risks

Implementing effective floodplain management strategies is imperative to protect your project.

Elevation and Foundation Design

Incorporate elevation and foundation design techniques that raise structures above the BFE. This minimizes the risk of flood damage.

Flood-Resistant Materials

Select flood-resistant building materials and construction techniques to minimize damage in case of flooding.

Stormwater Management

Implement comprehensive stormwater management systems capable of handling heavy rainfall and preventing flooding within the project area.

Section 5: Collaborating with Experts

The Role of Civil Engineers

Collaborating with experienced civil engineers in Texas is essential when assessing floodplains.

Local Expertise

Civil engineers with local knowledge adeptly navigate the complexities of Texas' floodplain regulations and conditions.

Tailored Solutions

Experienced engineers provide customized solutions for flood risk mitigation that align with your project's unique requirements.


Evaluating floodplains is a pivotal initial step in responsible land shopping for civil site projects in Texas. Given the state's dynamic weather patterns and varying flood risk areas, a meticulous assessment and strategic planning are essential to ensure the safety and success of your project. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this 5 part series, where we will delve into the importance of assessing the depth of storm and the reduction of detention in land selection for civil site projects in Texas. JRH Engineering & Engineering Services, Inc. stands ready to be your trusted partner in navigating the complexities of land acquisition and civil project development in the Lone Star State.

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