Posted By: Sandra Knight, Deputy Associate Administrator, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, Mitigation
As part of our ongoing efforts to reform and strengthen the National Flood Insurance Program, FEMA has been working with members of Congress and other stakeholders to revise our process for mapping the flood risk of communities and families living behind levees. Our goal is to improve the way we map that risk – so families have more precise information when making decisions about how to protect their homes and properties.
In recent months, we have explored multiple approaches by seeking extensive input from stakeholders, including independent technical experts and the public.
Based on this input, we now are proposing a new mapping process for levees that will help us compile more precise technical data and allow us to more effectively assess the actual flood risk faced by citizens in communities throughout the country. Specifically, our proposed approach would strengthen our current process by helping communities demonstrate the degree of protection that a levee may provide to the surrounding communities. Currently, our maps don’t recognize any level of protection if a levee has not been certified to meet FEMA standards.
And as we have throughout this effort, we will continue to seek comments from stakeholders and the public on this proposal to help us finalize this new process. This public comment period will be open until January 30, 2012. Anyone can get more information on this approach and provide comments by visiting the federal register.
As with other recently-adopted tools that have increased our mapping accuracy, such as digital mapping technology, these new methods will help us continue to improve our flood mapping and analysis efforts.
Flood mapping remains a team effort that requires close coordination between our agency, our federal, state, local, tribal and territorial partners and communities – and of course, the public. As we continue to work to improve our flood mapping process, families and businesses can better understand the flood risk they face within their own communities and take steps to protect themselves and their homes against a potential flood. These steps can include flood proofing techniques to mitigate flood risk to their own homes, supporting good land use and building codes in their communities, developing a family communications plan, putting an emergency kit together, and investing in flood insurance. We encourage families and businesses to learn more by checking out http://www.floodsmart.gov/.