lake champlain floodplain management

Findings on Floodplain Management Best Practices Released by International Lake Champlain-Richelieu River Study Board


The International Lake Champlain-Richelieu River Study Board is pleased to release a series of reports investigating best practices for floodplain management in the Lake Champlain-Richeulieu River (LCRR) Basin. Four reports covering the topics of flood mapping, flood risk communication, floodplain management, and flood insurance, are now available online, as well as a summary report which discusses the interconnectedness of many of the best practices stemming from this investigation.

The Study Board was appointed by the International Joint Commission in 2017 to respond to a request by the Canadian and US governments to explore causes, impacts, risks and solutions to mitigate flooding in the LCRR basin. The request was prompted by record-setting floods in the basin in 2011. The Board was tasked with investigating both moderate structural and non-structural options to mitigate the impacts of floods along the shoreline of the lake and river.

A 2020 workshop on Floodplain Management Solutions held by the Study Board identified four key areas that the Study should focus on for providing recommendations in its final report to the International Joint Commission. The Study Board commissioned four white papers, each of which focused on one of these topics. These papers compiled best management practices based on a literature review and interviews with experts.

All papers are available on the Study Board’s website, as well as the integrative report:

Flood risk management is a strategic approach that aims to increase community resilience to floods. It involves implementing a range of policy tools that prevent and reduce flood hazards, limit flood exposure and mitigate social vulnerability to flood impacts.

Because floods even greater than that of 2011 remain possible in the LCRR basin, an integrated flood risk management strategy would help to reduce and manage flood risk by mitigating the exposure and vulnerability of people, property and infrastructure assets. This strategy should be guided by overarching principles and implemented through a mix of complementary policy tools.

Some examples of the best practices explored in these papers include, enhancements to flood maps so that they can be more useful to city planners, as well as making maps that are available to the public dynamic, interactive and user friendly. Flood risk communications campaigns can also be effective tools to inform potential buyers of at-risk properties, and increase insurance uptake. Discouragement of new development in flood prone lands can help to reduce local risk; however, existing development also faces flood risk, which should be reduced through protections whenever justified. Flood insurance can also be an effective tool to speed up post-flood recovery, but securing widespread coverage requires sharing risk and responsibility between government and the private sector.

To find out more about the findings of these papers, visit where you will also find information on the Study Board and the other research that it is conducting as part of its mandate.

For more information, contact:

Kevin Bunch                                       202-632-2014   

Christina Chiasson                            613-293-1031