Floodplain Functions

Natural & Beneficial Floodplain Functions

Floodplains in our City serve a beneficial purpose to our quality of life. These low areas are where rainfall goes to drain, and when the rainfall drains into the ground, this helps reduce flooding, and recharges our drinking water supply. Some examples of floodplains in Miami Gardens are the areas next to the Snake Creek and Biscayne Canals.

These floodplains also serve as filters of stormwater runoff as it seeps through the ground and into our aquifer. This aquifer is our only source of drinking water, and this filtering helps contain pollution before it reaches our aquifer! It is important that we appreciate our floodplains, and try to maintain, preserve and restore these areas whenever possible.


A swale (B) is a long narrow depression, which varies in depth and is typically wider than it is deep. It is a strip of land in front of your homes and adjacent to the street. Swales provide an area for stormwater runoff from roads and other impervious areas to accumulate or pond. Normal time for ponding in swales is typically 24 to 36 hours. Water in swales will eventually evaporate or infiltrate into the soil. Swales filter the stormwater and allow percolation of the water into the soil below.

Swales should have grass a form of cover that allows percolation into the soil below. Rock or pebbles are not allowed due to compaction of the material, and it does not allow the rainwater to percolate back into the ground. This condition floods your driveway and your neighbor.


Gravel or pebbles are not allowed in the swale. This will compact with the weight of the parked vehicles and rainwater will not percolate into the ground causing flooding conditions.
Swale Increase
Neighbor's swale is increasing due to building up the swales. This practice does not allow rainwater to percolate back into the ground.

Benefits of Swales

  • Improve the look of the neighborhood.
  • Provide filtering of runoff Reduce pollutants entering water bodies (canals, rivers, lakes, etc.)
  • Reduce flooding, allow water to pond and protect properties.

Maintenance of Swales

  • Clear the swales of any debris including leaves, branches and other vegetation. Allow water to pond.
  • Do not park in swale which causes compaction of the soil and reduces infiltration. Do not pave swales which will reduce the filtration and infiltration of the runoff.
  • Mow swales, but allow good grass growth Minimize use of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.