Development in Flood Plains


Homes, businesses and even entire communities have been built in flood plains. The development of these flood plains has resulted in continual and often severe social and economical loss.

Flood plain permits

Clark County has adopted construction standards and a permit system to regulate development in flood hazard areas and minimize flood impacts.

Flood plain permits are required for most activities within flood plains, such as grading, cut and fill, installation of riprap and other bank stabilization techniques. A flood plain inquiry is used to determine base flood elevations, drainage, sewer and construction issues.

Public Works' Development Engineering section provides flood plain review to minimize public and private losses due to flooding, protect life and property, maintain public health and minimize effects on flood plains.

To minimize damage to structures during flood events, Clark County requires all new construction and substantial improvements in the flood plain 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.

These standards apply to all development in flood plains, including new structures 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 Clark County Community Development at 360.397.2375 ext. 4598. Report vegetation or tree clearing on stream banks to Clark County Code Enforcement at 360.397.2375 ext. 4931.

More information

There are several ways to obtain additional information about current regulations and, more specifically, about your own property:

  • Online - Flood Insurance Rate Maps
  • In person - You can speak with a trained permit technician or pick up additional information at the Permit Center, on the first floor of 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 Clark County Code Enforcement at 360.397.2375 ext. 4184.