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Protecting Floodways and Open Space

Development within Douglas County greatly increases the risk and severity of local flood events. The removal of prime farmland and replacement with impermeable surfaces has a compounding effect on biodiversity, agricultural productivity, and flooding in Douglas County. To incentivize owners to retain their open space, Douglas County has adopted a voluntary protection agreement as well as regulations that protect up to 40% of environmentally sensitive lands.

More information coming soon!

In an effort to preserve delicate biodiversity, promote agricultural uses of land, and retain open space for flood mitigation, Douglas County has adopted protective regulations for development in the Unincorporated Douglas County.

Environmentally sensitive lands shall be protected with all types of developments, including residential, commercial, and industrial. Up to 40% of a property may be required to be protected if the property contains more than 40% of environmentally sensitive lands. The protected land shall be placed in a tract, easement, or future development area or may be further protected with a conservation easement or temporary set-aside agreement as noted in Section 11-104 of the Subdivision Regulations.

The Douglas County Zoning and Land Use regulations adopted in February 2020 define Environmentally Sensitive Lands as: 

  • Regulatory Floodways, as designated on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)
  • Regulatory Floodway Fringe, as designated on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)
  • Jurisdictional Wetlands, as determined by the Army Corp of Engineers
  • Stream Corridors, 
  • Native Prairie and Restored Prairie,
  • Prime Farmland,
  • Stands of Mature Trees/Heritage Woodlands
  • Archaeological and Historic Sites, as listed on the Local, State, or Federal Registers