Homes, businesses and even entire communities have been built in floodplains. The development of these floodplains has resulted in continual and often severe social and economical loss.
Clark County has adopted land use regulations (click on Compile Chapter), construction standards, and a permit system to regulate development in flood hazard areas and minimize flood impacts.
Floodplain permits (PDF) are required for most activities within floodplains, such as grading, cut and fill, installation of riprap and other bank stabilization techniques. A floodplain inquiry is used to determine Base Flood Elevations, drainage, sewer, and construction issues.
To minimize damage to structures during flood events, the county requires all new construction and substantial improvements in the floodplain, be adequately flood-proofed, elevated or otherwise protected from flood damage.
Elevation Certificates, by a Washington State Land Surveyor, are required to verify that the lowest floor, including the basement and utilities, are elevated above the Base Flood Elevation depending on your Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) Zone. Find your FIRM Zone.
These standards apply to all development in the floodplain including new structrues and substantial improvements to existing structures.
Ways to reduce flooding
- Do not dump or throw anything into ditches or streams. A plugged channel cannot carry water. When it rains, the excess water must go somewhere. Trash and vegetation dumped into a stream degrades water quality, and every piece of trash contributes to flooding. The county enforces regulations that prohibit illegal dumping of material into ditches, streams and other drainage ways.
- Report illegal dumping. Call Code Enforcement at (360) 397-2375 ext. 4184 to report anyone dumping trash or other debris into ditches, streams and other drainage ways, Remember: What is dumped upstream from you can have a direct effect on your property.
- Protect stream vegetation. Do not remove vegetation that is actively growing on a stream bank. Streamside vegetation is tightly regulated by local, state, and federal regulations. If you have questions, call County Development Services at (360) 397-2375 ext. 4598. Report vegetation or tree clearing on stream banks to Code Enforcement at (360) 397-2375 ext. 4931.
There are several ways to access information about your property and current regulations.
- Online -
- In person - You can speak with a trained permit technician or pick up additional information at the Permit Center located in the Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St., Vancouver.
- By telephone - Contact Community Development Permit Services at (360) 397-2375 ext. 4489 for information and prior to undertaking any activity within the floodplain. Report violations to Code Enforcement at (360) 397-2375 ext. 4184.