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FEMA Issues Latest Update to Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping Standards

FEMA’s Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration updated the Guidance and Standards that it uses in its flood mapping and risk analysis efforts. There are six revised standards, three new standards, and one rescinded standard in this maintenance cycle in addition to a number of updated guidance and technical reference documents.

Several of these updates to Risk MAP guidance and technical references begin implementing recommendations from the Technical Mapping Advisory Council’s (TMAC) 2015 recommendations.

TMAC related updates include requirements for reporting the accuracy of elevation data used, and guidance on selecting engineering models.  FEMA also enhanced the standards and guidance development process and updated FEMA Policy #FP 204-078-1 to address the TMAC recommendation to consider the cost of implementation for new requirements and address the costs consistently.

The updated standards address requirements for emergency operation plans for levee accreditation, clarify requirements for incorporating Letters Of Map Revisions into map updates, update requirements for processing Physical Map Revisions (PMRs) update Notice to Users (NTU) requirements, update requirements for flood risk product automation, update distribution requirements for Flood Insurance Study  (FIS) Reports, and formalize several standards for removal of the special flood hazard area designation by letter consistent with current practice.

FEMA conducted a public review of the draft standards earlier this year. FEMA regularly updates these guidance and technical reference documents to ensure ongoing improvements in its flood mapping and risk analysis efforts. The actual standards and related guidance are available at www.fema.gov/guidelines-and-standards-flood-risk-analysis-and-mapping.  The posting of guidance documents and technical references to the FEMA.gov site may be delayed by external affairs reviews.  FEMA Mapping Partners with access to the Risk Management Sharepoint can access these document here until they are all posted on FEMA.gov

A summary of the changes to standards is below, along with the associated standard ID (SID). 

Standards Updates

SID 444: The purpose for the update is to require emergency operation and public evacuation procedures be documented for levee systems to be accredited.  This standard will emphasize the importance of ensuring this information is available and is aligned with existing accreditation regulations. Additionally, this standard is consistent with “Flood Protection Structure Accreditation Task Force: Final Report” recommendations to require such information. The “Flood Protection Structure Accreditation Task Force: Final Report” was produced following a requirement in the 2012 NFIP Reform Act for FEMA and US Army Corps of Engineers to align our requirements related to levee inspection, certification, and accreditation.
 
SID 551: The purpose for the update is clarify that Risk MAP Program providers are responsible for all data within a PMR footprint and this should meet required DVT checks, standards and quality reviews.
 
SIDs 169 & 368: Removes conflicting requirements that existed between the original standards 169 and 368 related to the incorporation of LOMRs into a study or PMR.   All valid LOMRs that are effective prior to the LOMC cutoff data must be incorporated. SID 169 will be updated with the combined language and SID 368 will be rescinded.  This update will not result in significant changes to current processes.
 
SID 440: The purpose for the update is to remove the phrase that mandated how Mapping Partners create the Flood Risk Map (“must be derived directly from the Flood Risk Database”).  This change was needed to promote more flexibility in how the Flood Risk Map and Flood Risk Report get created, and to ultimately support simplification of the Flood Risk Database.  An associated Flood Risk Database Technical Reference update will also be made to fully implement this change.
 
SID 268: Requires that all communities included in a revised FIS, regardless of whether they are affected by the revision, must receive a copy of the updated FIS or receive a notice of how to download an updated FIS. Currently, all communities in a county affected by a revision receive a copy of the revised FIS Report at effective issuance, delivered by the MSC.  This aligns with current practice.  In the future, communities included in the FIS, but not affected by the revision may receive a notice of how to download an updated FIS, rather than receive the updates directly.
 
SID 227: The purpose for the update is to add the option for making corrections to the National Flood Hazard Layer (NFHL) through the NTU process, and also to clarify the accreditation status of a levee cannot be updated by an NTU.

New Standards

SID 623: This is a new standard to clarify that requests to remove the SHFA designation that require a Community Acknowledgement Form cannot be processed in non-participating communities.
 
SID 624: This is a new standard that states the basis for approval or denial of requests to remove the SFHA designation from a structure or property based on the elevation of the lowest adjacent grade at the structure or naturally occurring intervening high ground between the flooding source and the structure of property.
 

SID 626: This is a new standard to clarify that to remove the SFHA designation from a property or portion of a property, the area to be removed cannot partially overlap any proposed or existing structures and may not include flooding sources or waterways that are shown on the effective Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).

There is also an addition (highlighted) to the “Requirements” section of the policy to help clarify the impact of new standards on existing task orders and agreements: 

Standards must be implemented based on the effective date and implementation description.  The implementation description is chosen to avoid cost or scope impacts on existing task orders, cooperative agreements, or interagency agreements.  If the implementation of a new standard as mandated by this policy requires a change to an existing agreement, coordinate with the FEMA to modify the existing agreement as necessary. New standards may be implemented sooner in coordination with the FEMA Project Officer and Contracting Officer’s Representative.

A summary of the changes to guidance and technical references is below:

 

TMAC Recommendations:

Modeling Guidance

Hydraulics - One-dimensional Analysis and Floodway Guidance: Transformation with minor edits / updates.  Some additional language is being added to provide guidance on how to choose between steady and unsteady modeling techniques.

Hydraulics - Two-dimensional Analysis Guidance: Transformation with new content from recently developed FEMA whitepapers.  The new content will help modelers choose between 1-D and 2-D models and better define data sources.  Also, adding information about model verification and maintenance. 

Elevation Data Accuracy Reporting

FIRM Database Technical Reference: Updating fields within S_Submittal_Info to capture topographic data accuracy (TOPO_VERT_ACC and TOPO_HORIZ_ACC fields) to support TMAC recommendation. This will increase the version of the FIRM Database.  There are other minor updates.

FIRM Database Guidance: Minor changes to align with the FIRM DB Technical References updates, as well as providing guidance about how to populate the new fields.

Domain Tables Technical Reference: New Domains being added for the new fields in the S_Submittal_Info.  Also, adding new domains for D_Task_Typ: Topo_Capture and Terrain_Capture.

Terrain Metadata Profile: Adding Topo Capture and Terrain Capture GeoForm options.

Data Capture Technical Reference: Updating to reflect new Topo_Capture and Terrain_Capture tasks, also adding Automated Engineering report to General folder for Hydrology, Hydraulics, Floodplain Mapping, and Flood Risk Dataset.

Data Capture – General Guidance: Revisions to reflect new Topo_Capture and Terrain_Capture tasks, updates to the media section to reflect CDS guidance on submitting large datasets, and other minor changes.

Data Capture – Workflow Details Guidance: Revisions to reflect new Topo_Capture and Terrain_Capture tasks, minor updates to the Automated Engineering section.

FIS Report Technical Reference: Revising information about Table 23 to reflect new S_Submittal_Info fields.

Substantial Updates:

CNMS Technical Reference: Updated to incorporate the revised Coastal CNMS framework and coastal study validation assessment process and checklist.  Some minor revisions and additions have been made to the S_Studies_Ln feature class schema, including new fields to store validation assessment decision documentation directly in the database rather than as an external spreadsheet.

Quality Review & Quality Management Guidance: Consolidation of the two existing Quality guidance documents into one, and updates to incorporate references to KDP requirements, as well as guidance around the timing of submittals, reviews, and the archiving of data. The structure is being re-organized around the lifecycle of a Flood Risk Study while providing details about quality assurance, quality control, and continuous process improvement.

Guidance Transformation:

Stakeholder Engagement-FIS and FIRM Delivery Guidance: Transformed guidance, plus substantial revisions to reflect FEMA emphasis on stakeholder engagement throughout Risk MAP lifecycle and to address requirements of Section 216 of the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, as amended by Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014.

Stakeholder Engagement-Planning for Mitigation Action Guidance: Transformed guidance, plus substantial revisions to reflect FEMA emphasis on stakeholder engagement throughout Risk MAP lifecycle and to address requirements of Section 216 of the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, as amended by Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014.

General Hydraulics Guidance: Originally transformed in May 2016. Held for release to correspond with 1-D and 2-D Analysis Guidance release because of extensive interdependencies.  Provides additional clarity on levels of study such as Base Level Engineering and Detailed Study.

Alluvial Fan Guidance: Transformed guidance, with the removal of some out dated content.

Shallow Flooding Guidance:  Transformed guidance, plus revisions to some language to reflect current program terminology and evolving methods of analysis since Appendix E was originally written.

Flood Profiles Guidance:  Transformed guidance, plus added guidance to address profile situations commonly encountered, such as drawdowns, overprints, and profiles for 2D modeling, among others.

Coastal: Statistical Simulation Methods Guidance: Transformed guidance, consolidating related guidance from Appendix D and Operating Guidance 8-12 on Joint Probability Method.

Coastal: Flood Frequency and Extreme Value Analysis Guidance: Transformed guidance, and updated to remove certain guidance previously included in legacy Appendix D, such as the recommendation to adopt the GEV distribution, examples that highlighted how to perform certain statistical analyses, and language pertaining to the complexity of the Peaks Over Threshold approach.

Miscellaneous Updates:

Regulatory Product Updates

FIRM Panel Technical Reference: Updated to provide a specification for the FIRM Panel neatline.

FIS Report Technical Reference: Replaced the NGS physical address and phone number listed in the FIS Report with a reference to the NGS website; added clarifying information for documenting multi-county communities in the Community Map History Table and on the FIRM Index; added a special CBRS/PNP note option to the FIRM Index where CBRS areas apply over open water; and updated Table 23 (Topographic Data) to be consistent with updates to the FIRM Database Technical Reference and to better implement the TMAC recommendation to document the Vertical and Horizontal accuracy of elevation data used in the study.

FIS Report Guidance: Minor update to support the improved implementation of SID #261; updated to support the special CBRS/PNP FIRM Index note added to the FIS Report Technical Reference.

FIS Report Template: Updated to reflect NGS updates in the FIS Report Technical Reference.

NFHL Guidance: Updates to document changes to the NFHL submission process, LOMR source citation guidance, and changes to quality corrections that can be processed as NTUs.

DVT, PMR and FIRM Index Guidance: Minor changes to clarify guidance and better align with other documents.

Flood Risk Product Updates

Flood Risk Database Technical Reference: Updated to fully implement the changes to SID #440 and to promote more flexibility and simplification of the database, by removing the requirement that the following Flood Risk Map and Flood Risk Report-specific tables must be populated: S_Carto_Ar, S_Carto_Ln, S_Carto_Pt, S_FRM_Callout_Ln, FRR_Custom, FRR_Images, and FRR_Project.  These are now optional.

Flood Risk Database and Flood Risk Map Guidance: Minor updates to be consistent with the updates to the Flood Risk Database Technical Reference.

Other Routine Updates

Post-Preliminary Processing (PPP) Deliverables Guidance: Minor updates to the FEDD table to include new BW-12 guidance and be consistent with other May 2016 updates (FEDD/TSDN).

Coastal General Study Considerations Guidance: Updated section 4.4 to incorporate guidance regarding temporary shoreline disturbances. 

MIP Guidance: Updates to reflect changes in the process for submitting large datasets to the MSC.

NTU Guidance: Updates to discuss NFHL-only NTUs, alignment with updates to SID #227 and other revised information to make the use of NTU more streamlined. 

MetaMan Guidance: Updating to expand information on use of the tool.

Metadata Profiles (with references to Automated Engineering): Adding optional language to the existing Hydrology, Hydraulics, Floodplain Mapping, and Flood Risk Dataset metadata profiles to be used when submitting Automated Engineering data with these tasks.

 


 

FEMA Issues Latest Update to Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping Standards

FEMA’s Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration updated the Guidance and Standards that it uses in its flood mapping and risk analysis efforts. There are six revised standards, three new standards, and one rescinded standard in this maintenance cycle in addition to a number of updated guidance and technical reference documents.

Several of these updates to Risk MAP guidance and technical references begin implementing recommendations from the Technical Mapping Advisory Council’s (TMAC) 2015 recommendations.

TMAC related updates include requirements for reporting the accuracy of elevation data used, and guidance on selecting engineering models.  FEMA also enhanced the standards and guidance development process and updated FEMA Policy #FP 204-078-1 to address the TMAC recommendation to consider the cost of implementation for new requirements and address the costs consistently.

The updated standards address requirements for emergency operation plans for levee accreditation, clarify requirements for incorporating Letters Of Map Revisions into map updates, update requirements for processing Physical Map Revisions (PMRs) update Notice to Users (NTU) requirements, update requirements for flood risk product automation, update distribution requirements for Flood Insurance Study  (FIS) Reports, and formalize several standards for removal of the special flood hazard area designation by letter consistent with current practice.

FEMA conducted a public review of the draft standards earlier this year. FEMA regularly updates these guidance and technical reference documents to ensure ongoing improvements in its flood mapping and risk analysis efforts. The actual standards and related guidance are available at www.fema.gov/guidelines-and-standards-flood-risk-analysis-and-mapping.  The posting of guidance documents and technical references to the FEMA.gov site may be delayed by external affairs reviews.  FEMA Mapping Partners with access to the Risk Management Sharepoint can access these document here until they are all posted on FEMA.gov

A summary of the changes to standards is below, along with the associated standard ID (SID). 

Standards Updates

SID 444: The purpose for the update is to require emergency operation and public evacuation procedures be documented for levee systems to be accredited.  This standard will emphasize the importance of ensuring this information is available and is aligned with existing accreditation regulations. Additionally, this standard is consistent with “Flood Protection Structure Accreditation Task Force: Final Report” recommendations to require such information. The “Flood Protection Structure Accreditation Task Force: Final Report” was produced following a requirement in the 2012 NFIP Reform Act for FEMA and US Army Corps of Engineers to align our requirements related to levee inspection, certification, and accreditation.
 
SID 551: The purpose for the update is clarify that Risk MAP Program providers are responsible for all data within a PMR footprint and this should meet required DVT checks, standards and quality reviews.
 
SIDs 169 & 368: Removes conflicting requirements that existed between the original standards 169 and 368 related to the incorporation of LOMRs into a study or PMR.   All valid LOMRs that are effective prior to the LOMC cutoff data must be incorporated. SID 169 will be updated with the combined language and SID 368 will be rescinded.  This update will not result in significant changes to current processes.
 
SID 440: The purpose for the update is to remove the phrase that mandated how Mapping Partners create the Flood Risk Map (“must be derived directly from the Flood Risk Database”).  This change was needed to promote more flexibility in how the Flood Risk Map and Flood Risk Report get created, and to ultimately support simplification of the Flood Risk Database.  An associated Flood Risk Database Technical Reference update will also be made to fully implement this change.
 
SID 268: Requires that all communities included in a revised FIS, regardless of whether they are affected by the revision, must receive a copy of the updated FIS or receive a notice of how to download an updated FIS. Currently, all communities in a county affected by a revision receive a copy of the revised FIS Report at effective issuance, delivered by the MSC.  This aligns with current practice.  In the future, communities included in the FIS, but not affected by the revision may receive a notice of how to download an updated FIS, rather than receive the updates directly.
 
SID 227: The purpose for the update is to add the option for making corrections to the National Flood Hazard Layer (NFHL) through the NTU process, and also to clarify the accreditation status of a levee cannot be updated by an NTU.

New Standards

SID 623: This is a new standard to clarify that requests to remove the SHFA designation that require a Community Acknowledgement Form cannot be processed in non-participating communities.
 
SID 624: This is a new standard that states the basis for approval or denial of requests to remove the SFHA designation from a structure or property based on the elevation of the lowest adjacent grade at the structure or naturally occurring intervening high ground between the flooding source and the structure of property.
 

SID 626: This is a new standard to clarify that to remove the SFHA designation from a property or portion of a property, the area to be removed cannot partially overlap any proposed or existing structures and may not include flooding sources or waterways that are shown on the effective Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).

There is also an addition (highlighted) to the “Requirements” section of the policy to help clarify the impact of new standards on existing task orders and agreements: 

Standards must be implemented based on the effective date and implementation description.  The implementation description is chosen to avoid cost or scope impacts on existing task orders, cooperative agreements, or interagency agreements.  If the implementation of a new standard as mandated by this policy requires a change to an existing agreement, coordinate with the FEMA to modify the existing agreement as necessary. New standards may be implemented sooner in coordination with the FEMA Project Officer and Contracting Officer’s Representative.

A summary of the changes to guidance and technical references is below:

TMAC Recommendations:

Modeling Guidance

Hydraulics - One-dimensional Analysis and Floodway Guidance: Transformation with minor edits / updates.  Some additional language is being added to provide guidance on how to choose between steady and unsteady modeling techniques.

Hydraulics - Two-dimensional Analysis Guidance: Transformation with new content from recently developed FEMA whitepapers.  The new content will help modelers choose between 1-D and 2-D models and better define data sources.  Also, adding information about model verification and maintenance. 

Elevation Data Accuracy Reporting

FIRM Database Technical Reference: Updating fields within S_Submittal_Info to capture topographic data accuracy (TOPO_VERT_ACC and TOPO_HORIZ_ACC fields) to support TMAC recommendation. This will increase the version of the FIRM Database.  There are other minor updates.

FIRM Database Guidance: Minor changes to align with the FIRM DB Technical References updates, as well as providing guidance about how to populate the new fields.

Domain Tables Technical Reference: New Domains being added for the new fields in the S_Submittal_Info.  Also, adding new domains for D_Task_Typ: Topo_Capture and Terrain_Capture.

Terrain Metadata Profile: Adding Topo Capture and Terrain Capture GeoForm options.

Data Capture Technical Reference: Updating to reflect new Topo_Capture and Terrain_Capture tasks, also adding Automated Engineering report to General folder for Hydrology, Hydraulics, Floodplain Mapping, and Flood Risk Dataset.

Data Capture – General Guidance: Revisions to reflect new Topo_Capture and Terrain_Capture tasks, updates to the media section to reflect CDS guidance on submitting large datasets, and other minor changes.

Data Capture – Workflow Details Guidance: Revisions to reflect new Topo_Capture and Terrain_Capture tasks, minor updates to the Automated Engineering section.

FIS Report Technical Reference: Revising information about Table 23 to reflect new S_Submittal_Info fields.

Substantial Updates:

CNMS Technical Reference: Updated to incorporate the revised Coastal CNMS framework and coastal study validation assessment process and checklist.  Some minor revisions and additions have been made to the S_Studies_Ln feature class schema, including new fields to store validation assessment decision documentation directly in the database rather than as an external spreadsheet.

Quality Review & Quality Management Guidance: Consolidation of the two existing Quality guidance documents into one, and updates to incorporate references to KDP requirements, as well as guidance around the timing of submittals, reviews, and the archiving of data. The structure is being re-organized around the lifecycle of a Flood Risk Study while providing details about quality assurance, quality control, and continuous process improvement.

Guidance Transformation:

Stakeholder Engagement-FIS and FIRM Delivery Guidance: Transformed guidance, plus substantial revisions to reflect FEMA emphasis on stakeholder engagement throughout Risk MAP lifecycle and to address requirements of Section 216 of the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, as amended by Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014.

Stakeholder Engagement-Planning for Mitigation Action Guidance: Transformed guidance, plus substantial revisions to reflect FEMA emphasis on stakeholder engagement throughout Risk MAP lifecycle and to address requirements of Section 216 of the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, as amended by Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014.

General Hydraulics Guidance: Originally transformed in May 2016. Held for release to correspond with 1-D and 2-D Analysis Guidance release because of extensive interdependencies.  Provides additional clarity on levels of study such as Base Level Engineering and Detailed Study.

Alluvial Fan Guidance: Transformed guidance, with the removal of some out dated content.

Shallow Flooding Guidance:  Transformed guidance, plus revisions to some language to reflect current program terminology and evolving methods of analysis since Appendix E was originally written.

Flood Profiles Guidance:  Transformed guidance, plus added guidance to address profile situations commonly encountered, such as drawdowns, overprints, and profiles for 2D modeling, among others.

Coastal: Statistical Simulation Methods Guidance: Transformed guidance, consolidating related guidance from Appendix D and Operating Guidance 8-12 on Joint Probability Method.

Coastal: Flood Frequency and Extreme Value Analysis Guidance: Transformed guidance, and updated to remove certain guidance previously included in legacy Appendix D, such as the recommendation to adopt the GEV distribution, examples that highlighted how to perform certain statistical analyses, and language pertaining to the complexity of the Peaks Over Threshold approach.

Miscellaneous Updates:

Regulatory Product Updates

FIRM Panel Technical Reference: Updated to provide a specification for the FIRM Panel neatline.

FIS Report Technical Reference: Replaced the NGS physical address and phone number listed in the FIS Report with a reference to the NGS website; added clarifying information for documenting multi-county communities in the Community Map History Table and on the FIRM Index; added a special CBRS/PNP note option to the FIRM Index where CBRS areas apply over open water; and updated Table 23 (Topographic Data) to be consistent with updates to the FIRM Database Technical Reference and to better implement the TMAC recommendation to document the Vertical and Horizontal accuracy of elevation data used in the study.

FIS Report Guidance: Minor update to support the improved implementation of SID #261; updated to support the special CBRS/PNP FIRM Index note added to the FIS Report Technical Reference.

FIS Report Template: Updated to reflect NGS updates in the FIS Report Technical Reference.

NFHL Guidance: Updates to document changes to the NFHL submission process, LOMR source citation guidance, and changes to quality corrections that can be processed as NTUs.

DVT, PMR and FIRM Index Guidance: Minor changes to clarify guidance and better align with other documents.

Flood Risk Product Updates

Flood Risk Database Technical Reference: Updated to fully implement the changes to SID #440 and to promote more flexibility and simplification of the database, by removing the requirement that the following Flood Risk Map and Flood Risk Report-specific tables must be populated: S_Carto_Ar, S_Carto_Ln, S_Carto_Pt, S_FRM_Callout_Ln, FRR_Custom, FRR_Images, and FRR_Project.  These are now optional.

Flood Risk Database and Flood Risk Map Guidance: Minor updates to be consistent with the updates to the Flood Risk Database Technical Reference.

Other Routine Updates

Post-Preliminary Processing (PPP) Deliverables Guidance: Minor updates to the FEDD table to include new BW-12 guidance and be consistent with other May 2016 updates (FEDD/TSDN).

Coastal General Study Considerations Guidance: Updated section 4.4 to incorporate guidance regarding temporary shoreline disturbances. 

MIP Guidance: Updates to reflect changes in the process for submitting large datasets to the MSC.

NTU Guidance: Updates to discuss NFHL-only NTUs, alignment with updates to SID #227 and other revised information to make the use of NTU more streamlined. 

MetaMan Guidance: Updating to expand information on use of the tool.

Metadata Profiles (with references to Automated Engineering): Adding optional language to the existing Hydrology, Hydraulics, Floodplain Mapping, and Flood Risk Dataset metadata profiles to be used when submitting Automated Engineering data with these tasks.


 

USACE Guide to Public Alerts & Warnings for Dam & Levee Emergencies

NOW AVAILABLE:
New Guide to Public Alerts and Warnings for Dam and Levee Emergencies

Risk reduction can be achieved through various means, including improved approaches to flood warning and emergency management. The USACE Dam and Levee Safety Programs have recently engaged with renowned social scientists Dennis Mileti and John Sorensen, in the areas of warning and evacuation to better understand what motivates people to take protective actions during an emergency event. "A Guide to Public Alerts and Warnings for Dam and Levee Emergencies" (pdf, 2.22 MB) summarizes the results of that effort. It is targeted at anyone involved in the emergency management process, including emergency management officials, public affairs personnel (public information officers, public affairs officers), emergency first responders (incident commanders, police and fire personnel), dam and levee owners and operators, radio and television broadcasters, public elected officials, and other people or organizations involved with or interested in local emergency management.


 

Funding Opportunity FY 2014

Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grants

FEMA has announced the Funding Opportunities for FY 2014 Pre-Disaster Mitigation and Flood Mitigation Assistance. All 50 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands and federally-recognized tribal governments are eligible to apply. Local governments are considered sub-applicants and must apply to their applicant state/territory.

Applicants are encouraged to review the Hazard Mitigation Assistance Unified Guidance for detailed information regarding eligibility and to contact their FEMA Regional Office for additional information.

Application Deadline: 3:00pm ET July 25, 2014
Grant applications must be submitted to FEMA through the Mitigation eGrants system on the FEMA Grants Portal accessible on the Internet at https://portal.fema.gov no later than 3:00 PM ET on July 25, 2014.


 

Photos Show Why the Colorado Floods Are Being Called ‘Biblical’

Four people in Colorado this week already lost their lives in the record-breaking rains and floods that are battering parts of the state, forcing thousands to evacuate their homes.

On Friday, Governor John Hickenlooper declared a disaster emergency for 14 counties from the Wyoming border to Colorado Springs. President Obama also declared a federal state of emergency for Boulder, Larimer, and El Paso counties, allowing FEMA to deploy four rescue teams to those areas.

This afternoon, Reuters reports that a fifth victim, a 60-year-old woman who was swept away by flood waters, is now missing and presumed dead.

With no signs of a slow-down, even the comparatively shorter rains expected this weekend are expected to cause further flash-flooding as areas of Colorado's landscape are already well oversaturated.

Unlike other recent flooding disasters in countries like Taiwan and China, Colorado's defies expectation. September tends to be a drier month for the state, reports National Geographic.

Sandra Postel, National Geographic's Freshwater Fellow, tells the magazine that the flooding may be linked to recent droughts, which have hardened the soil of the Colorado River Basin, preventing it from absorbing much of the rainfall. Forest fires may also shoulder some of the blame; a portion of the vegetation normally responsible for trapping rainwater burned to the ground in recent years.

The most pressing question remains: How much of a hand has global warming played in these events? Climate Central's Andrew Freedman writes:

"It will take climate scientists many months to complete studies into whether manmade global warming made the Boulder flood more likely to occur, but the amount by which this event has exceeded past events suggests that manmade warming may have played some role by making the event worse than it would have otherwise been."

News and social media outlets are updating pictures regularly. What follows are some of the most striking.

Read More...


 

FEMA Fact Sheet Regarding the 2012 NFIP Changes

FEMA has released a Fact Sheet about Sections 205 and 207 of the National Flood Insurance Program Reform Act of 2012. Key provisions require FEMA to raise flood insurance rates and change how flood insurance map updates affect policyholders.


 

Open Invitation to Participate: Flood Protection Structure Accreditation Task Force Web Meeting

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have established the Flood Protection Structure Accreditation Task Force and is organizing several web meetings in March for stakeholder input. Its goal is to develop recommendations for aligning agency processes so information collected for either USACE Inspection of Completed Works (ICW) program purposes or National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) levee accreditation purposes can be used interchangeably and to align the information and data collected by or for the USACE ICW program so it is sufficient to satisfy NFIP accreditation requirements for levee systems. Please visit http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/LeveeSafetyProgram/TaskForce to register for a web meeting; obtain background information about the task force activities including the interim report; and submit comments online (note: the online comment form will not be available until March 8). In addition, a recording of the web meeting will be posted on this website March 20 for those unable to make one of the four sessions. Comments will be accepted until March 22, 2013.


 

FEMA Launches New Tool for Community Flood Hazard Information

FEMA is launching a new tool that will allow you to view a community’s preliminary flood hazard data over the web and in one convenient location! Preliminary data issued after April 1, 2013 will soon be accessible from the Map Service Center’s (MSC) Product Catalog. These data provide the public an early look at their home or community’s projected risk to flood hazards. Preliminary data available in this search tool will include: new or revised Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports, and FIRM Databases. Note: Preliminary data are subject to change, and are not to be reproduced or used as official FEMA data until they are effective. You may use preliminary data for review and guidance purposes only. For more information on preliminary data, visit http://www.fema.gov/preliminaryfloodhazarddata.


 

FEMA LAUNCHES NEW SUBMISSION TO REQUEST CHANGE IN PROPERTY'S FLOODPLAIN DESIGNATION

FEMA launches a new way to submit a request to change a property's floodplain designation.  Please see here for full information.


 

FEMA ELEVATION CERTIFICATE

FEMA has made available the new FEMA Elevation Certificate.  The EC can be found here.


 

11/12/2012 THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET AND THE PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY HAVE ISSUED A MEMO

The memo outlines the use of conflict resolution practices for water and other environmental issues.  The memo directs federal agencies to use third-party facilitation to settle conflicts.The policy supports  an executive order to improve the federal permitting process for infrastructurre projects.


 

FEMA'S 2012 COMMUNITY RESILIENCE INNOVATION CHALLENGE

National Preparedness Month may be coming to a close, but as emergency managers, we know that preparedness is needed year-round in our communities. We are also keenly aware that a government-centric approach to disaster management is insufficient to meet the challenges posed by a catastrophic incident. To meet our preparedness goals, the whole community must be actively involved in all phases of the preparedness, response, and recovery cycle.

On Thursday Sept. 27, 2012 we announced the start of the application period for the Community Resilience Innovation Challenge Opportunity. This new monetary opportunity is designed to continue to move community preparedness forward and assist local areas in building and revitalizing community-based partnerships to advance the nation’s resilience to disasters. Submissions will be accepted through Oct. 26.

“The best resiliency ideas originate in our states and communities – not from Washington, DC,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “The goal of this program is to empower communities to collaborate and develop innovative ways to effectively respond to disasters.”

Rockefeller Foundation and FEMA sponsor the Community Resilience Innovation Challenge Opportunity, which will be administered by the Los Angeles Emergency Preparedness Foundation, a third-party intermediary, to encourage local communities to engage in creative activities that enhance disaster resilience. Funding levels will range, with a maximum award of $35,000, and applications are open to most local, state, and tribal agencies and governments; business entities; associations; organizations and groups.

Help spread the word in your communities and share additional information on the Challenge program criteria and application process that can be found at www.fema.gov and www.ResilienceChallenge.org.


 

NFIP REAUTHORIZATION GUIDANCE

NFIP Reauthorization Guidance - July 9, 2012
On July 6, 2012, President Obama signed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 extending the National Flood Insurance Program’s authority through September 30, 2017.  More information to follow.


 

CRS COORDINATOR'S MANUAL

A draft of the CRS Coordinator's Manual has been posted at www.CRS2012.org.  Agencies, communities and professionals are invited to submit comments and suggestions to improve the Manual. Click on "Outreach and Feedback" link in the 3rd paragraph of the homepage, and then click on "submit comments" link in the 3rd paragraph of the Outreach and Feedback page and submit any comments you may have.  The deadline to submit comments is July 31, 2012.


 

USACE ACCEPTING PUBLIC COMMENTS ON VEGETATION VARIANCE REQUEST PROCESS

See release here.


 

USACE CONDUCTS LISTENING SESSION AT FMA CONFERENCE

The US Army Corps of Engineers conducted a listening session for the Federal Interagency Floodplain Management Task Force at the Floodplain Management Association (FMA) Annual Conference on 5 November 2010. The audience of 25 people consisted primarily of members of FMA from California, Nevada, and Hawaii, as well as a few invited guests. The members of FMA were primarily engineers and employees of private consulting companies, state and local government agencies, and USACE District offices.  The report is available here.


 

UPDATED PRINCIPLES AND GUIDELINES FOR WATER AND LAND RELATED RESOURCES IMPLEMENTATION STUDIES

The White House Council on Environmental Quality released a proposal to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for their review that would significantly change the principles and guidelines that govern America's water resource planning. The proposal would require that such projects help to improve the economic well-being of the Nation for present and future generations, better protect communities from the effects of floods and storms, help communities and individuals make better choices about where to build based on an understanding of the risk, and protect and restore the environment. For more information, go here.


 

NATIONAL REPORT: RESPONDING TO NATIONAL WATER RESOURCES CHALLENGES

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released this report which presents the results of the two-year long "Building Strong Collaborative Relationships for a Sustainable Water Resources Future" project. The input through surveys, shared documents, interviews, and conferences helped develop a set of recommendations to move toward advancing Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). More information is available at this link.


 

NATIONAL OCEAN POLICY TASK FORCE REPORT

The White House Council on Environmental Quality just announced the release of the final report of the President's Ocean Policy Task Force which establishes the country's first comprehensive national policy for the stewardship of the oceans, our coasts and the Great Lakes. This national policy will set the United States on a new path toward comprehensively planning for the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean. Americans want clean beaches, abundant seafood and wildlife, a robust economy and jobs and recreational opportunities from our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes areas. This National Policy provides a lasting foundation to help achieve these.  Please see the Press Release here.  Full report can be found here.


 

NAFSMA 2012 COMMUNICATIONS AWARDS

The National Association of Flood and Stormwater Management Agencies (NAFSMA) "Excellence in Communications Awards" competition is officially underway for 2012!  This year's program represents the fifth year that NAFSMA has undertaken this program to recognize and share outstanding flood risk and water quality imporvement outreach and education initiatives from both the public and private sectors.  The two main categories in this year's Awards Programs include: (1) Public Awareness of Flooding Risk, and/or Flood Preventions, and/or Emergency Preparedness, and (2) Improving Water Quality.  In addition to awarding the top programs throughout the country, NAFSMA produces a DVD to share these successful initiatives with others in the field. Awards submissions are due at the National Office by June 15, 2012 to be considered in this year's competition.  A submission may include any, or all, of the following: television (public service announcements and special broadcasts); printed materials (including brochures and printed advertisements) and outdoor advertising.  Media has to have been aired between January 2010 and April 30, 2012.  Printed and media materials will be judged and receive awards in separate categories.  For questions, please contact Susan Gilson at 202-289-8625 or or Betty Hollister at 702-254-6133 or . A copy of the announcement can be found here.


 

FEMA REVISES PREFERRED RISK POLICIES FOR HOMEOWNERS

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is revising its Preferred Risk Policy under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to extend eligibility an additional year. Effective January 1, owners of buildings found to be in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) during a flood map revision, may be eligible for a preferred risk policy that will allow them to maintain a lower cost flood insurance policy for two years following the effective date of a flood map change.  Read full press release here.


 

FEMA GUIDANCE FOR REVIEW OF LEVEE ACCREDITATION SUBMITTALS

In accordance with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) regulations, communities or other parties seeking recognition of a levee system as providing protection on NFIP maps must provide data and documentation demonstrating compliance with regulations set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at Title 44, Chapter 1, Section 65.10 (44 CFR Section 65.10). Once compliance with 44 CFR Section 65.10 is demonstrated, the levee system will be accredited on NFIP maps, reflecting the appropriate risk zones for levee-impacted areas. FEMA has seen an increase in the number of accreditation request submittals and has prepared guidance to improve and clarify the process of review for compliance with 44 CFR Section 65.10, and has prepared Procedure Memorandum No. 63. These reviews must be consistent for all accreditation submittals including, but not limited to new and continued accreditation requests as part of a mapping project, requests submitted as Letters of Map Change (LOMCs), Physical Map Revisions (PMRs), and Provisionally Accredited Levees (PALs). To download a copy of this Memorandum, click here.


 

FEMA EXTENDS LOWER COST FLOOD INSURANCE OPTION TO ELIGIBLE PROPERTY OWNERS IN HIGH-RISK FLOOD AREAS

Thousands who own homes and businesses in locations recently designated as high-risk flood areas will soon have a new way to save on flood insurance protection.  Beginning January 1, 2011, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is offering a new insurance rating option that will allow many property owners to take advantage of lower-cost flood insurance for two years before they are required to pay standard rates.  The program will make Preferred Risk Policies (PRPs), which start at just $129 a year and are typically only available for properties in moderate-to-low risk areas, available for properties that have been newly mapped into high-risk areas due to a flood map revision on or after October 1, 2008. Information can be found on FEMA's mapping website or through a community's floodplain administrator. Property owners in communities that have received flood map updates since October 1, 2008 should contact their insurance agent for further details.  Additional information can also be found here or by calling the NFIP Help Center at 1-800-427-4661.


 

FEMA ADMINISTRATOR AGREES TO COCHRAN & WICKER REQUEST TO END “WITHOUT LEVEE” ANALYSIS IN NEW FLOOD MAPS

Agency to Account for Existing Levees, Flood Control Structures in Assessing Risks. Please see news release here.


 

CALIFORNIA OFFICIALS VOICE CONCERNS OVER CORPS VEGETATION POLICY

In a letter dated December 6, 2010 to Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, seventeen Congressional Members from California expressed concern over the Corp's levee vegetation policy. The letter highlights that removing vegetation from federal levees in the State has the potential to significantly alter ecosystems, place a large financial burden on California's struggling economy, and adversely impacts public safety. It further emphasizes that the vegetation policy is in conflict with federal endangered species regulations. The letter requests that the Corps work with local and state officials to develop a balanced approach to ensure public safety and environmental preservation.  Read Page 1 and Page 2 of this letter.


 

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