Flood Science Center – Project Summary

September 2017

On-Going Projects

ASFPM – Flood Mapping for the Nation – The Association of State Floodplain Managers continues to use the cost estimates from this report to promote increased funding for flood hazard mapping. Completed in 2013, this internally funded project developed an estimate of the total cost to complete the floodplain mapping of the country based on the parameters specified in the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 and ASFPM’s projection of what constitutes adequate flood mapping for the country. This estimate shows the initial cost to complete flood mapping for the nation ranges from $4.5 billion to $7.5 billion. These cost estimates are repeatedly being cited by members of Congress justifying the need for increased funding for flood hazard mapping. An update to the report is planned for early 2018.

NOAA Digital Coast Partnership – ASFPM continues to partner with NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management in development, evaluation and expansion of its Digital Coast website to improve coastal community access to data and decision support tools for addressing coastal hazards. This project also enhances ASFPM partnerships – ASFPM is part of an 8 NGO partnership that includes The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the Coastal States Organization (CSO), the National Association of Counties (NACo), the National State Geographic Information Council (NSGIC), the Urban Land Institute (ULI), the National Estuarine Research Reserve Association (NERRA), and the American Planning Association (APA).

National Flood Barrier Testing & Certification Program – ASFPM in partnership with FM Approvals and the US Army Corps of Engineers National Nonstructural/Flood Proofing Committee (NFPC) have implemented a national program of testing and certifying flood barrier products used for flood proofing and flood fighting. This program currently tests barrier products in the categories of Temporary Flood Barriers, Closure Devices, Backwater Valves, and Flood Mitigation Pumps. http://nationalfloodbarrier.org/

Legal No Adverse Impact Workshops – Funded through FEMA, ASFPM continues to offer up to two (2) legal workshops annually. Recent workshops include the “Overcoming Policy and Permitting Challenges to Implementing Natural Infrastructure Solutions,” workshop held at The Pew Charitable Trusts headquarters in Washington D.C. with around 50 invited participants and speakers. In 2016 a workshop was held in in Biloxi, Mississippi in conjunction with Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant and Rich Stickler, Biloxi’s Floodplain Manager. Another was held in Tacoma, WA and was cosponsored by the Northwest Regional Floodplain Management Association. The latter workshops provided Legal CEC’s helping work toward key objectives of these workshops and continuing the discussion on topics such as Takings, High Regulatory Standards, Protecting Property Rights for All, NAI, and recent court filings.

State Coordinator Mentoring Program – ASFPM has been working to develop and maintain a nationwide formal mentoring program that is targeted specifically to state floodplain managers to: 1) Build upon existing capability among state floodplain managers, 2) Ensure continuity as state floodplain management programs transition staff (especially small one person operations), and 3) Provide a service to train new state floodplain managers using a mentoring based approach. With the mentoring program going operational in early 2018, the Flood Science Center will transition from tool developer into an implementation/maintenance mode.

CTP Support – FEMA has funded ASFPM to help support Cooperating Technical Partners. The project involves documenting best practices and providing training via quarterly webinars. In conjunction with this effort a Mapping & Engineering Standards subcommittee has been established that focuses on CTPs. Thuy Patton with Colorado and Carey Johnson with Kentucky are co-chairs of this subcommittee. The ASFPM EO (AL) is on the FEMA CTP Community of Practice Steering Committee. ASFPM has been highlighting that the Cooperating Technical Partner program is just as much about building partnerships as it is about mapping SFHAs.

Note: The ASFPM Board of Directors passed a resolution in 2015 urging FEMA to continue supporting the Cooperating Technical Partner program. Since then FEMA’s Laura Algeo has been active in setting up a CTP Collaboration Site, Updating the CTP contacts list, establishing a CTP Community of Practice and developing a 5 year CTP Implementation Plan.

Planning Information Exchange – APA leads this FEMA-funded project with ASFPM playing a key partner role. The Planning Information Exchange hosts one webinar per quarter focusing on all hazards and primarily on mitigation planning, but also its connections with recovery planning and preparedness.

L-273: Managing Floodplain Development through the NFIP – ASFPM has been funded by FEMA to manage the field deployment of this course. We have developed a cadre of instructors to support States interested in providing this training in their State.

Active Projects

NOAA Digital Coast Fellow – With funding from NOAA and the ASPM Foundation, ASFPM is partnering with the Coastal States Organization to integrate and update guides to help coastal communities, including ASFPM’s Coastal No Adverse Impact (CNAI) Handbook (2007) and the Foundation’s Holistic Coasts report (2013), and align them with the forward looking vision provided in the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS).

ASFPM Flood Science Center Library – Since 2010, ASFPM has been investing in its library. With over $50,000 in investment in the past six years, the ASFPM library has grown significantly. In addition to curating a physical collection, ASFPM has also invested into creating an online library using the cutting edge of library science. The ASFPM Foundation is providing resources for the creation of the ASFPM Library website interface as well as providing resources for creating a sustainable process and web content for donated collections of publications. A beta version of the online library can be found at https://www.floodsciencecenter.org/flood-science-center/flood-science-resources/flood-resource-library/

Building Coastal Resilience through Capital Improvements Planning – ASFPM is partnering with the American Planning Agency on a NOAA grant to identify mainstream techniques that increase community resiliency by incorporating information from extreme weather events, climate hazards, and changing ocean conditions into local or regional capital improvement plans.

Great Lakes Coastal Flood Study Outreach – FEMA is updating the Great Lakes Coastal Methodology and will be revising the FIRMs for the Great Lakes coastline. FEMA has funded ASFPM to assist with outreach and host a website associated with the project. Staff have been attending the workmap rollout meetings and providing guidance to communities to ensure they understand the new V zones and the updated methodology.

CRS for Community Resiliency (a.k.a. CRS Green Guide) – ASFPM partnered with the Coastal States Organization on a National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Grant related to the CRS program. The overall goal of the project is to increase the number of communities making voluntary, effective measures to increase coastal resiliency and take steps to make flood insurance affordable. The “CRS for Community Resilience” website (a.k.a. CRS Green Guide) was launched in June 2017 to help promote CRS participation and provide guidance on nature-based or green activities that increase a community’s rating. ASFPM and CSO are working directly with communities in Ohio and Rhode Island to increase their resiliency through the CRS process by hosting workshops in September 2017 for both states. Additionally a 4-part webinar series based on the workshops will be hosted for a national audience in late October and November. https://www.floodsciencecenter.org/products/crs-community-resilience/

NAI How-To Guides – In furtherance of ASFPM’s No Adverse Impact (NAI) ™ initiative, the Association is developing a series of No Adverse Impact (NAI) “How-To” Guides. Funded by the ASFPM Foundation, How-To” Guides are being developed for each of the Building Blocks in the No Adverse Impact: A Toolkit for Common Sense Floodplain Management and include: 1) Mitigation (completed in 2013); 2) Infrastructure (completed in 2013); 3) Planning (completed in 2015); 4) Education and Outreach (completed in 2015); 5) Regulations and Development Standards (completed in 2016); 6) Mapping and Hazard Identification (completed in 2017) and 7) Emergency Services (under development)

New Mapping Open House Participant Analysis – Funded through the Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate, the Flood Science Center is working with OFIA staff to develop a survey for new mapping open houses to collect information and assess what property owners are being informed or notified of changing flood risk status and what flood insurance inquiries or concerns they may have.

Update of Floodplain Management: State Programs – ASFPM last updated the State Floodplain Management Programs report in 2010. This project is updating the status of state level floodplain management in the United States as of 2017. It will maintain the supporting data in a database for long-term use in establishing how states can assist communities to utilize increasingly effective approaches [e.g. No Adverse Impact (NAI)]. The project is being done with the assistance of the National Hazards Center at the University of Colorado.

Customer Experience Initiative Support – Over the past 18 months, FEMA has been engaged in a wide-ranging effort to overhaul the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA is moving to remove barriers to improve the overall customer experience delivery of the program. A critical customer is the local Floodplain Manager and the community’s Floodplain Management Program. The Flood Science Center is utilizing the 2016 Local Program Survey Data to provide information on trends, capabilities, needs and obstacles of Local Floodplain Management Programs. This information can assist in facilitating improvements in FEMA’s Customer Experience Initiative.

New FIRM Impacts on NFIP Policyholders – In conjunction with the Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate, the Flood Science Center is assessing the consistency in utilizing new FIRMs for insurance policy rating. This analysis is testing the consistency and accuracy of policy rating conducted as a result of the implementation of a new FIRMs and will provide insight on the appropriate application of the new FIRM panels.

Floodplain Management Professionals Survey of Flood Insurance Successes and Concerns – To better identify concerns and successes in implementing the NFIP, floodplain management or similar professional will be surveyed to provide information on flood insurance related discussions based upon their professional experience in floodplain management. A digital questionnaire for floodplain management professionals will be developed in conjunction with the Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate’s staff which will gather information on flood insurance mapping, outreach, and response experiences. The initial survey would be implemented at the 2017 ASFPM Annual Conference in Kansas City. The Flood Science Center will implement, review and summarize the results in a report to the OFIA, identifying necessary clarifications or revisions to the survey and work with the OFIA to identify future implementation opportunities.

Update of ASFPM’s 1996 “Addressing Your Community’s Flood Problem, Elected Officials Guide” – The document will be updated and made available in a PDF print ready format and a new alternative format—web interface-based upon the story mapping process. The update will modernize the content by incorporating NAI concepts, expand the explanation of a floodplain’s natural and beneficial functions, address programmatic changes impacting floodplain management, introducing considerations that adapt to changing climate conditions and are resilient against extreme events, and reference recent success stories from communities of varying sizes and locales.

K12 Education for Floodplain Management Gap Assessment – Funded by the ASFPM Foundation, this project researched the state of current K-12 flood education nationally to identify and compile a catalog of education programs, guidance and materials. This online education program library will be hosted and made available through ASFPM’s Flood Science Center website and cataloged as part of ASFPM’s Digital Flood Research Library. Additionally, a gap assessment will be conducted looking at the current practices, programs and materials. The gap assessment will provide specific focus areas that would be used to develop grant proposals aimed at creating new flood education programs, lessons or guidance.

Flood Risk & Vulnerability Modeling – The Argosy Foundation funded ASFPM to conduct research and analysis focused on modeling the social and economic costs and benefits of green infrastructure for flood risk reduction in urban areas including the potential impacts resulting from future conditions and climate change.

Strengthening Coastal Counties’ Resilience: An Interactive, Multi Modal Training Program for Local Governments – This 3-year NOAA Coastal Resilience Grant, lead by the National Association of Counties Research Foundation (NACoRF), with ASFPM and the Coastal States Organization (CSO)—will leverage its network of technical experts to assist local leaders with accessing information, integrating identified recommendations and strategies into their planning processes and implementing strategies and policies that will result in more resilient coastal county and state economies, safer communities and better stewardship of natural assets.

Projects – Proposals (funding not yet available)

ASFPM has submitted the following proposals for funding:

Effectiveness of the Regulatory Floodway Study ASFPM will review the current guidelines and policies associated with floodway mapping and managing development in mapped floodways and evaluate whether these procedures support efforts to responsibly manage development within the most hazardous part of the floodplain (i.e. with the fastest and deepest floodwaters). We will document any alternatives to current procedures that may better reflect the original intent of the regulatory floodway.

Access to the authoritative flood model – the flood models associated with flood studies are valuable data needed for managing development in the Special Flood Hazard Area. ASFPM is aware of a number of entities that provide access to flood models. ASFPM will document state and local authorities who provide access to flood engineering models and evaluate the potential of using the National Hydrography Dataset in conjunction with the FEMA CNMS data layer to index the engineering models and enable access.

Buildings/Population at-risk – The number of buildings and associated population at risk from flooding and increasing flood policy rates are important data to fully understand the extent of the nation’s risk to flooding and rising flood policy rates. The removal of subsidized National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood policy rates from all pre- Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) buildings is rapidly increasing the policy rates on all of the pre-FIRM buildings. Potential negative economic impacts from the loss of re-sale values and the resulting lowering of tax revenues could severely impact local economies. ASFPM’s Non-structural Floodproofing Committee has highlighted the need for communities to inventory the pre-FIRM structures in the floodplain along with first floor elevations of these structures to determine which homes and businesses will be most severely impacted during a flood event.

In order to promote these assessments at the community level, this project would involve developing a case study for the City of Mandeville, LA where this type of assessment has already been completed. This project would also evaluate how to develop a systematic inventory of pre-FIRM at-risk buildings/ population in the US.

National Resilience Standards for Floodproofing (Barrier) Products – The proposed project would 1) lead the development of standards for the two remaining flood barrier products – semi-permanent barriers and sealants; 2) complete the steps to prepare the existing 2510 standards for inclusion into the international building codes; and 3) promote the floodproofing standards widely. This funding proposal was submitted to the DHS Science & Technology Directorate.

Historic Flood Documentation – Submitted for funding to the ASFPM Foundation, this project would be undertaken to research and recommend a standardized approach for historic flood documentation in order to build or support the institutional memory of flood events and their aftermath. The flood documentation would be guided by the “Boulder Creek Flood Notebook” created by Gilbert White.

Coupling the CHARM Platform with the No Adverse Impact Approach: A Participatory Decision Support System to Enable Plan Integration for Extreme Events – ASFPM and Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension Service will engage members of NOAA’s Digital Coast Partnership, the American Planning Association, and the newly instituted National Water Center at the University of Alabama to roll-out the Community, Health, and Resource Management (CHARM) scenario planning platform adapted to ASFPM’s NAI approach. The proposal was submitted under the NOAA CSI-SARP – Extreme Events Preparedness, Planning & Adaptation within the Water Sector funding opportunity.

CRS for Community Resilience (a.k.a. CRS Green Guide) – ASFPM is partnering with the Coastal States Organization in an ongoing effort to continually fund the CRS Green Guide workshops and training. A proposal has been submitted in this effort to the the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA).

Recently Completed Projects

Great Lakes Coastal Resilience Planning Guide – Funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) ASFPM and NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management lead the Digital Coast Partnership in working with coastal communities on the Great Lakes to improve community resiliency through the comprehensive planning and management within coastal watersheds. The major outcome of the project was the development of peer-reviewed case studies and process-driven solutions and strategies delivered through a web-based guide titled “Great Lakes Coastal Resilience Planning Guide” (greatlakesresilience.org). The Flood Science Center continues to maintain the “Planning Guide”, adding events, funding and social media feeds relevant to coastal resilience in the Great Lakes. Completed – May, 2017

Naturally Resilient Communities – The Nature Conservancy (TNC) funded ASFPM to help develop a siting guide and case studies for the mainstreaming of natural infrastructure to address coastal and riverine flooding. http://nrcsolutions.org/ Completed – February, 2017

Wisconsin Shoreline Inventory and Oblique Photo Viewer – Using Wisconsin Coastal Management Program funding, ASFPM was able to update the Wisconsin Shoreline Oblique Photo Viewer originally produced in 2009. In addition to an entire new codebase for the application, 11,600 new photos of the Lake Michigan and Lake Superior shoreline were added from a WCMP funded flight mission by the Civil Air Patrol in spring 2017. Additional photos added include a small batch of 2016 obliques flown by Dr. Mickelson and all the 2012 oblique photos taken by the USACE for the Great Lakes Coastal Flood Study. http://floodatlas.org/wcmp/obliqueviewer/ Completed – June, 2017

Flood Science Center Website – ASFPM staff were pleased to launch the new Flood Science Center website in April 2017 to complement our rebranding (formerly Science Services). The new website contains a comprehensive list of all the projects we have completed and are currently working on. New FSC products will be produced in the design templates created during this development. Most importantly, the new FSC website is the template for the future new floods.org so a lot of time and effort went into making sure the needs were met for not only our our projects, but also the future floods.org website. https://www.floodsciencecenter.org

National Flood Mitigation & Floodproofing Workshop – The workshop was held August 14-17, 2017 in New Jersey and provided information on implementation of flood hazard mitigation actions that support the NFIP. The workshop presented up-to-date information on current mitigation techniques in the following categories: regulatory, planning, structural protection through retrofitting, floodproofing, etc. and risk communications that have been proven to be most effective for various situations at the local level.

Best Practices & Case Studies Compendium – The project involved indexing and electronically archiving case studies and best practices. By making these case studies more useable and accessible, it is more likely that other communities across the nation will implement risk reduction measures and fewer people will experience flood damages. Beyond local communities, regional, state or federal agencies along with academia could access these best practices and utilize to increase flood resilience through these examples. The completed compendium consists of case studies and best practices organised by topic as well as a fully searchable library. The Compendium can be found at https://www.floodsciencecenter.org/products/best-practices-case-studies-compendium/

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