1 NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE WORKSHOP: PREPARING FOR CHANGES IN THE NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM Case Studies: Community Strategies for Reducing Flood Risks and Insurance Burdens Prepared for the National Flood Insurance Workshop June18, 2013 Baton Rouge, LA LRAPLOUISIANA RESILIENCY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM LSU CSS Coastal Sustainability Studio
2 Coastal Sustainability Studio 212 Design Building Baton Rouge, LA css.lsu.edu resiliency.lsu.edu
3 COMMUNITY RATING SYSTEM The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary program for recognizing and encouraging community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements. In return, communities receive discounts on flood insurance premiums, ranging from 5-45%. King County, WA Heavy rains and snowmelts lead to frequent river flooding in the Seattle area. In 1990, King County officials recognized the value of the CRS Program in reducing risk to floodplain property owners. By 2007 King County had received a Class 2 rating under the CRS, making it the highest-rated county in the nation at the time. Projects: Photo: King County, WA In order to reduce flooding risks and lower insurance premiums, King County has incorporated every category of projects and programs for which FEMA grants CRS credit. King County has preserved over 100,000 acres of open, natural space, providing beneficial floodplain functions. The county has also purchased and removed more than 40 structures from the floodplain. The King County Flood Control District was established to manage and fund such projects, including the Annual Inspection and Maintenance Program, operation of a Flood Warning Center, and the Washington State Dam Safety Program. As a result, the National Weather Service designated the county as a storm ready county. Other specific examples of flood improvement include: Providing Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) information online Creating and maintaining detailed GIS maps of floodplains, channel mitigation hazard areas, and surveyed benchmarks, and making that information readily available to the public Restricting and regulating development in areas where flood depths exceed 3 feet and velocity exceeds 3 feet per second, including channel migration zones Restricting non-residential structures in the FEMA floodway, including critical facilities (with some exceptions) Requiring a 3-foot freeboard standard for most structures above the 100-year flood elevation and zero-rise standard throughout the zero-rise floodway to provide flood conveyance Requiring the removal of temporary structures and hazardous materials from the floodplain during the flood season The development of their Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan in 2006 provided the county with guidelines and objectives regarding necessary improvements to an aging system of over 500 levees and revetments within the urban and rural floodplain. In order to manage and fund the $335 million in priority repairs and upgrades necessary over the next decade, the Kind County Flood Control District was created in King County s contemporary methods of flood hazard mitigation reduce flood risks to thousands of people and the loss of billions of dollars in property and infrastructure. The county s Class 2 rating provides a 40% discount on flood insurance premiums for properties within special flood hazard areas, and a 10% discount in non-special flood hazard areas. King County has been able to maintain its class 2 rating, as of October 2012.
4 COMMUNITY RATING SYSTEM The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary program for recognizing and encouraging community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements. In return, communities receive discounts on flood insurance premiums, ranging from 5-45%. Miami-Dade County, FL Miami-Dade County is especially susceptible to flooding from major rain events and storm surge because it lies close to sea level. This, coupled with a high water table, means water has nowhere to drain. In 2000, FEMA recognized a need to build a series of canals to protect Miami-Dade county from flood risks. Projects: In order to handle excess water resulting from drainage and Photo: MasTec development of wetlands, the city constructed a 620-mile series of canals and waterways called the Miami-Dade Flood Control Project (C-4 Basin), where water is held in reserves or absorbed into the ground. The driving force of the C-4 project is the pump station at the mouth of the Tamiami Canal, which begins in the Everglades National Park. The canal is designed to push water downstream against the tide. The C-6 basin, built at the mouth of the Miami River Canal, offsets the flow from the C-4 canal, preventing flooding upriver. The three pumps at each station have the capacity to process 4,500 gallons of water per second. When the canals cannot handle the full volume of water, an emergency detention basin exists to receive and store excess water in two reservoirs. The project has been so successful that there are now plans to construct a similar system at Miami-Dade s C-7 basin. Aside from Miami-Dade s efforts in structural flood protection and stormwater management, the county also prevents flooding and assists citizens through: Providing elevation certificates Providing FIRM information online Requiring real estate agents to disclose hazards to potential buyers of flood-prone properties Providing technical advice to citizens about protecting their property from flooding The total cost of the C-4 Canal Project was $70 million, $52.5 million of which was awarded by FEMA s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), which funds up to 75% of the eligible costs of a project that will reduce or eliminate damages from future natural hazard events. The other 25% was provided by Miami-Dade County and awards from the Quality Neighborhood Improvement Program (which funds capital infrastructure projects in unincorporated Miami-Dade County), the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). SFWMD is the state agency responsible for managing and protecting water resources of South Florida by balancing and improving water quality, flood control, natural systems and water supply. Residents in Miami-Dade County receive discounts based on the county s Class 5 rating. This includes a 25% discount on insurance premiums for residents within the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and a 10% discount for those outside the SFHA. Additionally, the ability of the C-4 Project to reduce flooding has resulted in fewer insurance claims, reduced repair costs, and less loss of wages due to time away from work.
5 COMMUNITY RATING SYSTEM The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary program for recognizing and encouraging community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements. In return, communities receive discounts on flood insurance premiums, ranging from 5-45%. Roseville, CA Flooding in the City of Roseville is largely associated with stormwater runoff exceeding creek and storm drainage capacities, both in the city and surrounding communities. Areas adjacent to the creeks are subject to both flash flooding and riverine flooding. Since 1992, Roseville, California has been active in the Community Rating System to reduce flooding risks. Roseville is the first and only community in the nation to receive CRS s highest rating of a Class 1 community. Photo: City of Roseville Projects: Roseville has maintained their Class 1 CRS rating by adopting all of FEMA s recommended activities. Only 7% of the city is located within a floodplain, but the city has taken action to prevent losses. The city voluntarily bought-out 273 homes at high risk of flooding to convert the majority of the floodplain to open space. Current development requirements include the prohibition of construction or infilling within the 100-year floodplain, except in the center of the city and only if no adverse impact is demonstrated. The floor elevation of any structure is required to be above the future 100-year floodplain water surface elevation. Ongoing flood control projects include the operation of an alert system that predicts and broadcasts flood warnings and an annual streambed maintenance program. Regional flood control efforts are coordinated through the Placer County Flood Control District which operates detention basins and collects developer-paid fees to pay for improvements. Specific past projects include: Elevating flood-prone homes Quadrupling the size of a culvert on Linda Creek to handle a 100-year storm Adding, enlarging, and improving culverts along Linda Creek Replacing a bridge to widen Cirby Creek s channel for larger stream capacity Removing culverts from under railroads (the Union Pacific Culvert Removal Project) Acquiring homes in the floodplain (the Linda Creek and Cirby Creek/I-80 projects) The City of Roseville funded most of these projects at a cost of about $14.9 million over almost 30 years. Today, annual maintenance and upkeep costs are around $350,000. FEMA funded 75% ($750,000) of the Home Elevation Program and $8.7 million of flood control improvements on Linda Creek. Union Pacific Railroad Company funded almost all of the culverts removed from under railroads at a cost of $2 million. Because of the great Class 1 CRS rating, residents within the 100-year floodplain can receive 45% discount on their flood insurance premiums, while those outside the floodplain can receive 10% insurance premium discounts.
6 COMMUNITY RATING SYSTEM The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary program for recognizing and encouraging community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements. In return, communities receive discounts on flood insurance premiums, ranging from 5-45%. Tulsa, OK After the Memorial Day storm of 1984 that left 14 people dead and $292 million in damage, the City of Tulsa developed its first Citywide Flood and Stormwater Management Plan (est. 1990). Tulsa is currently completing the fourth update to its Citywide Master Drainage Plan and is ranked third in FEMA s CRS program with an impressive Class 2 rating. Projects: Photo: David Cassidy While Tulsa has a comprehensive flood control program that encompasses all the activities for which the CRS program grants credit (aside from direct flood protection aid to homeowners, as prohibited by Oklahoma state law), it emphasizes the acquisition of flood-prone properties and preservation of open space in the floodplain. Through the Acquisition Program, Tulsa has cleared more than 900 buildings from its floodplains. The Mingo Creek Project ( ) was formed to design and construct a system of networks of landscaped buffers and detention basins along Mingo Creek. Other recreational greenways, doubling as detention basins, where constructed in the 1990s throughout the city. Plans for the floodplain not only consider current developments, but also include future developments; maps include the entire watershed, not just the floodplain. Taxes and fees apply to those who will need stormwater detention facilities and to those who may obstruct the floodplain storage capacity. For management purposes, certain initiatives were developed: Creation of the Department of Stormwater Management Explicit definition of funds: FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds and stormwater taxes and fees Public education and outreach campaigns to build support for fees, taxes, and the voluntary acquisition program Tulsa has engaged in both external and internal sources of funding. External sources include the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers with the Mingo Creek Project, and FEMA s HMGP with the Acquisition Program. Internal sources of revenue include those from the stormwater taxes and fees. Since 1990, more than $200 million has been spent on capital projects and programs (with $80 million of that in federal funds). The city has secured another $300 million in projects planned for the next several decades. Because of the city s Class 2 rating, residents in Tulsa benefit from a 40% discount on insurance premiums within the 100-year floodplain and a 10% discount on insurance premiums outside the 100-year floodplain. Tulsa ultimately recognizes that the floodplain should be used for public parks,recreation, and open space, which has improved quality-of-life in the city.
7 LEVEES Levees are a central component of many flood protection programs. Changing environmental conditions require upgrades to levee systems. Construction is often directed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, however local governments have the ability to raise money and lobby for better levees. Grand Forks, ND In April of 1997 the City of Grand Forks was flooded by the Red River to the north. Grand Forks received help from all over the country during the clean-up and since that time Grand Forks has not only recovered, it has flourished. Since the 1997 flood, some farm fields have been flooded, but no one has yet been forced to leave their homes in Grand Forks -- a far cry from 1997, when authorities ordered the entire population of about 50,000 to evacuate. Photo: U.S. Army Corps The Flood Protection Project (FPP) for Grand Forks is comprised of two flood control systems working together: a levee/floodwall system that holds back high water from the river and the English Coulee diversion channel that diverts overland flows around the west side of the city. Although most water is diverted around the city during times of flood, internal city drainage of the English Coulee must be collected. This water is pumped over the levee by the largest pumps constructed in the project, which have the capacity to pump 112,000 gallons per minute. This is the largest storm water pumping station in North Dakota. A series of smaller pumping stations handle runoff and snowmelt within the remainder of the city by pumping the rain and snowmelt runoff over the levees/floodwalls. The floodwalls and levees in Grand Forks span nearly 8 miles. The top of the levees are about 10 feet wide and sit at a river gauge of approximately 60 feet. The Grand Forks floodwalls are built an additional three feet taller. Because of this additional height and the 10-foot width of the levees, the city could successfully fight a 500-year flood by adding clay to the top of the levees. The project included the construction of 12 new flood pump stations, 7 floodwall closure structures, 3 up-and-over crossings, and the 9.5 mile English Coulee Diversion Channel. Additionally, the project included 20 miles of greenway trails and the Lincoln Golf Course. The FPP began shortly after the 1997 flood. The original components of the FPP have been implemented, however the program remains active in improving flood projection measures in the city. The total cost of the project has been $403 million. The federal government provided $203 million. The rest of the costs were split between the cities of Grand Forks, North Dakota ($135 million, 45% coming from the State of North Dakota), and East Grand Forks, Minnesota ($65 million, majority coming from the State of Minnesota). The 1997 flood produced almost $1 billion of damage to the communities in Grand Forks. The Grand Forks levee system will protect the city from a 500-year flood at river gauge level of approximately 60 feet. It is estimated that the benefit-cost ratio of the project is approximately $2.5 saved per $1 spent. Just 80 miles upriver in Fargo, North Dakota, residents are often forced to use sandbags as temporary dikes and dig craters for clay to prevent river water from entering the city.
8 LEVEES Levees are a central component of many flood protection programs. Changing environmental conditions require upgrades to levee systems. Construction is often directed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, however local governments have the ability to raise money and lobby for better levees. Santa Cruz, CA Stormwater runoff from the city is a major contributor of pollutants to the San Lorenzo River and Monterrey Bay. Additionally, parts of the downtown area are located within the 100-year floodplain. In partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and State of California, the San Lorenzo River Flood Control Project was created to control stormwater and reduce flooding. Photo: City of Santa Cruz The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Santa Cruz agreed to raise the height of the San Lorenzo River Levees from one to five feet and restore riparian habitat along the levees. A second part of this project was the replacement or repair of the Riverside Avenue Bridge, the Water Street Bridge, the Soquel Avenue Bridge, and the retrofit of the Broadway/Laurel Bridge. The third part of this project was to extend Laurel Street and stabilize the banks of Third Street. A natural rock wall was formed along this section to harden and prevent the collapse of these streets into the river. Vegetation was also planted along the toe of the wall adjacent to the river to provide shade for fish and other wildlife. The San Lorenzo Flood Control Project s $66 million budget was shared between Federal, State and City Governments. The City created the Stormwater Management Utility to establish and collect utility fees, allowing the city to contribute an estimated $4.4 million to help pay for its share of costs for flood control projects and stormwater pollution prevention. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers aided in raising the levees of the San Lorenzo River. Congress approved this levee raising in phases, and eventually the State joined forces with the City and Federal Government. Bridge construction was funded both federally and through city stormwater fees and taxes. Bank stabilization was a joint effort with the use of City, State and Federal funds. A flood in December 1955 caused $40 million in damage, which is equivalent to $340 million in damage today. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates that a 100-year flood in Santa Cruz would now only cause $86 million in damage; therefore, these flood control measures are potentially saving the city tens of millions of dollars in losses from future floods. In 2002, while the project was not yet complete, FEMA recognized that the levees were already providing increased flood protection and granted an interim A99 flood zone designation to most parcels in the 100-year floodplain to enable the levee project to be factored into the community s insurance rating. This designation allows flood insurance premiums to be reduced by 40%.
9 LEVEES Levees are a central component of many flood protection programs. Changing environmental conditions require upgrades to levee systems. Construction is often directed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, however local governments have the ability to raise money and lobby for better levees. San Mateo, CA The City of Santa Mateo, located along the San Francisco Bay, is at risk from tidal flooding. After a reassessment of flooding risks in 2008, FEMA included 8,000 new San Mateo properties in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) of the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). The new classification would have raised annual premiums from $1,000 to as high as $2,700 the following year. The residents of the area reacted by voting to build a levee themselves with fees of $76 annually to fund levee construction and floodwall improvements. Photo: City of Santa Mateo The South Bayfront Levee and Flood Control Facilities Assessment District was formed in 2008 as a financing mechanism to spread the cost of certain improvements to all properties that receive direct and special benefit from such improvements. Property owners in the designated area have an opportunity to vote on the proposed assessment. Projects financed through the Assessment District include the San Mateo Creek Floodwall, Detroit Drive Floodway, Seal Slough, and East End Levee. Construction of all four components that made up the South Bayfront Levee Improvement Project were completed in late FEMA issued a Letter of Final Determination to officially initiate the map revision process on April 16, 2012, known as a Physical Map Revision (PMR). The reduction in flood risk was only expected to be significant enough for FEMA to remove 6,000 properties from the high-risk flood zone. However, following FEMA s 2012 certification that the levees met current standards to protect against the 100-year flood, all 8,000 properties were reclassified as low risk (now included in flood zones A and B). These property owners are now able to purchase flood insurance under the standard rate, with the highest premiums reaching $1,600. The added protection also led FEMA to lift restrictions on new construction projects and upgrades in the area. The project was funded solely by the city and through taxpayer dollars. Although officials estimated the project would cost $7.5 million when the property owners approved the fees, the actual costs are now estimated to be approximately $8.35 million. The fees are expected to raise only $6.9 million over 20 years, leaving a deficit for construction and maintenance. To make up for the funding shortfall, the city is pulling $1.4 million from a fund meant to pay for a new downtown parking garage and spending it on the levee project. The property owners behind the levee system in San Mateo are now at a lower risk of flooding and FEMA declared them as low risk properties. As a result, these property owners are now able to purchase flood insurance at the standard rates, with a reduction of insurance premiums as much as $1,000 per year.
10 ACQUISITIONS Sometimes the most cost-effective way to protect human life and property from flooding is to move people out of harm s way. Voluntary property acquisition programs are funded by FEMA to help relocate homes and businesses out of flood-prone areas. Kent County, MI The Rogue River Watershed covers over 167,000 acres of land mostly in Kent and Newaygo Counties, in western central Michigan. The river is the main tributary to the Grand River, Michigan s largest river which runs through the city of Grand Rapids. Fragmentation of the natural landscape due to suburban development was a major threat to the river s health and decreased the capacity of the watershed to detain flood waters, putting communities in the Grand Rapids metro area at risk. Photo: Pete Deboer, The Rockford Squire A conservation easement project in the Rouge River watershed in western Michigan was initiated in 2004 and now covers 270 acres of wetlands, lakes, and adjacent forested uplands. A conservation easement is a voluntary, legally binding agreement that limits certain types of land uses or prevents development from taking place on a piece of property now and in the future, while protecting the property s ecological or open-space values. By creating a conservation easement, a landowner voluntarily agrees to sell or donate certain rights associated with his or her property often the right to subdivide or develop and a private organization or public agency agrees to hold the easement and enforce the landowner's promise not to exercise those rights. The restrictions on development are bound to the property deed and remain in place even if the property is sold. This project is part of a larger Nature Conservancy land conservation initiative called the Dunes & Savannas Project that spans across west Michigan. Additionally, just north of this property, Kent County Parks Department protects 230 acres of forests, streams, wetlands, and lakefront in the watershed. These ecosystems are critical to sustaining the health of the Rouge River and mitigating flooding downstream in the more heavily populated areas of Grand Rapids. Rather than undertake an expensive acquisition program with tax-payer money to mitigate flooding, Kent County worked with the Nature Conservancy, a non-profit, to place a conservation easement on a strategic area in the watershed. The property owners were interested in preserving the land they owned and the conservation easement provided an economic incentive to do so. Conservation easements are an inexpensive option compared to land acquisition. This allows the conservation of natural floodplains to occur without raising money from federal, state, or local taxes. Encouraged by the success of this program, another family decided to preserve their land with a conservation easement, adding another 126 acres of permanently preserved land in the watershed in The ecosystem services of these wetlands and forests save Grand Rapids and its suburbs millions of dollars by preventing flash floods.
11 ACQUISITIONS Sometimes the most cost-effective way to protect human life and property from flooding is to move people out of harm s way. Voluntary property acquisition programs are funded by FEMA to help relocate homes and businesses out of flood-prone areas. Kinston, NC The city of Kinston, North Carolina was struck by two devastating hurricanes in a relatively short period (Hurricane Fran in September 1996 and Hurricane Floyd in September 1999). To protect human life and prevent future property damage, city planners utilized FEMA HMGP (Hazard Mitigation Grant Program) funds to carry out voluntary buyouts of flooded properties and provide residents with money to move to safer areas of the community. Photo: J. Jordan, USACE When Hurricane Fran hit in 1996, a number of properties were damaged. An acquisition program was started with HMGP funds to purchase substantially damaged homes. Only three years later, Hurricane Floyd struck the area causing widespread damage. This second storm not only motivated more residents to participate in the acquisition program, but also allowed for a large portion of the Fran-recovery program to be rolled over to begin including Floyd victims, eliminating the typically long lapse time between a disaster and completing deed transactions. The 100 acquired properties were turned into greenspace. New affordable housing was built on vacant lots downtown to provide residents with a safe place to live without having to leave the community. Anticipating some public pushback and wanting to move the acquisition process along as quickly as possible, planners from the city of Kinston began conducting property damage assessments as soon as it was safe to enter the flooded neighborhoods after Hurricane Floyd. Planners utilized declarations of substantial damage and public health threat on severely damaged properties along with a building moratorium in flooded neighborhoods to help push along the acquisition and relocation agenda. Housing counselors worked with residents to help them understand the risks of staying in a high-risk area and the advantages of taking a buyout. The program costs approximately $2.1 million, with 75% coming from FEMA from the HMGP and 25% from the state. Although the funding for buyouts was coming from the HMGP, Kinston had much more flexibility in its buyouts because the city advanced the funds and was later reimbursed by FEMA. In 2005, the city received a Clean Water Management Trust Fund grant to buy out additional vacant lots who s owners did not accept a buyout after Floyd. Kinston had a high rate (97%) of participation in the acquisition program following Hurricane Floyd. Acquisitions have prevented the need for future expensive disaster recovery efforts in the city s floodplain neighborhoods. Total losses avoided by the acquisition program exceeds $6 million.
12 ACQUISITIONS Sometimes the most cost-effective way to protect human life and property from flooding is to move people out of harm s way. Voluntary property acquisition programs are funded by FEMA to help relocate homes and businesses out of flood-prone areas. New Richmond, OH Following major floods in 1996 and 1997, extremely muddy floodwaters damaged many homes beyond repair in New Richmond, Ohio. Residents combined funds from FEMA, the State of Ohio, and HUD to relocate these homes. The non-profit Habitat for Humanity also built homes in less flood-prone areas for some families. Photo: Habitat for Humanity Greater Cincinnati The Ohio Emergency Management Agency (OEMA) formed a mitigation branch staff to consider mitigation options to protect the community from flooding. The committee considered structural and non-structural acquisition, elevation, wet flood-proofing, flood-safety education, flood response evaluation, and no action. Through the planning process, it became clear that acquisitions were the most logical solutions for two reasons: (1) the buildings were not structurally sound enough for elevation, and (2) acquisition was a permanent solution to insure public safety. Acquisition of properties began shortly after two federally-declared flood disasters in With OEMA s (Ohio Emergency Management Agency) guidance, city officials amended their 1996 FEMA HMGP (Hazard Mitigation Grant Program) project to acquire 63 structures and 36 vacant lots. In 1999, a Parks and Recreation Board was formed to oversee the process of turning the flood mitigation properties into park space. For the acquisitions, the total project cost was about $1.24 million. FEMA HMGP provided almost $1 million through regularly and specially funded activities. The State of Ohio contributed about $75,000 through the Ohio Division of Natural Resources (ODNR). The City of New Richmond covered most of the local floodplain management expenses. A HUD CDBG was included as part of the local match, with the state match coordinated by OEMA and ODNR. Also, private funds from Habitat for Humanity aided in building five NFIP-compliant replacement houses. In 1991, New Richmond residents earned a CRS rating of Class 9, giving them a 5% reduction in flood insurance premiums.
13 ACQUISITIONS Sometimes the most cost-effective way to protect human life and property from flooding is to move people out of harm s way. Voluntary property acquisition programs are funded by FEMA to help relocate homes and businesses out of flood-prone areas. Portland, OR In 1997, Portland s Bureau of Environmental Services developed the Johnson Creek Willing Seller Land Acquisition Program (JCWSLAP). The program helps move people and property out of areas that frequently flood. Additionally, the city places deed restrictions on purchased properties designating them as open space in perpetuity and ensuring no future expenditure of federal disaster assistance funds for the property. Photo: Wikipedia Commons In October of 1996, the Portland City Council adopted the Flood and Landslide Hazard Mitigation Plan, which recommends acquisition of the most vulnerable properties. JCWSLAP offers fair market value to willing sellers. JCWSLAP is also producing an implementation strategy for the Johnson Creek Restoration Plan which addresses nuisance flooding, water quality problems, fish declines, wildlife declines and identifies common solutions to restore natural floodplain functions. Since the program began in 1997, over 70 structures have been removed from the floodplain and 107 acres are in permanent conservation. Many of the properties have now been used to create constructed wetlands, floodplain terraces and open space for flood management, habitat and passive recreation purposes. The program s total budget since 1997 has been about $8.7 million. Following major floods, Portland received three FEMA HMGPs, totaling more than $1.1 million. Those funds were combined with $1.5 million in CDBG funds and money from the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) ($1,625,000 + $300,000 per year through 2007), the parks department ($1 million), and the metropolitan planning commission ($626,250) to fund the program from 1997 to Funding from the parks department, combined with BES dollars, supported the program from Since then, BES has been the sole provider of funding for the Willing Seller Program. Some of the BES funds came from a $3 million FEMA Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant the organization submitted for construction of a flood mitigation program. Homeowners in Portland were given the opportunity to move from flood-prone areas, while retaining the fair market value of their homes. The residents of Portland can also enjoy recreational activities through the strategies brought about by the Johnson Creek Restoration Plan.
14 UNDEVELOPED LANDS Natural floodplains evolved to handle regular flooding. Urban and agricultural development impedes the ability of floodplain soils and plants to mitigate flooding damages. Conserving and restoring floodplain environments can offer a cost-effective mitigation solution to communities. Galveston Bay area, TX Undeveloped coastal land can serve as a natural buffer for a significant amount of storm surge, reducing flooding and damage further inland. After Hurricane Ike in 2008, Matagorda, Brazoria, Galveston, and Chambers counties united to push for the creation the Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area to protect valuable wetlands from over-development. Photo: Scott Whitlock These Texas communities understand that undeveloped lands along the coast serve as a natural buffer for a large amount of storm surge, reducing flooding and property damage further inland. These lands provide a coastal system protection network and it makes sense to use these natural assets as part of a long-term non-structural flood mitigation system. The Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area (NRA) is envisioned as a voluntary partnership among local, state and federal governments as well as non-governmental organizations and private parties. In order to obtain a National Recreation Area, Congress must designate it as such. This requires that the area (1) displays unique natural, cultural, or recreational resources, (2) represents a natural or cultural theme not already adequately represented in the park system, (3) must be of sufficient size and configuration to ensure long-term protection and accommodate public use, and (4) must have potential for efficient administration at a reasonable cost. The NRA is planned as a non-contiguous cluster of lands, historic sites and structures within Matagorda, Brazoria, Galveston and Chambers counties, encompassing 450,000 acres of tidal marshland and adjacent brackish wetlands and coastal prairie along with 150,000 acres of bay and estuarine areas. The NRA s management structure and land tenure it is expected to be managed under a custom-built partnership agreement between participating land owners and the National Park Service. The NPS will provide a coordinating presence for visitor services and tourism marketing. Institutional support for the Lone Star Coastal NRA is provided by a Steering Committee comprised of a group of national, state, and local community leaders. Technical support is provided by the Severe Storm Prediction, Education, and Evacuation from Disasters (SSPEED) Center. A partner s coalition has been established to bring together the private institutions involved in providing land resources to the project. In 2005, the National Park Service generated almost $12 billion in revenues from the near 275 million visitation fees and associated sales in parks and surrounding communities. When completed, this NRA is expected to provide an economic boost to the participating counties. Additionally, the NRA is expected to reduce loss of life and property from tropical storms and the government millions of dollars on disaster relief.
15 UNDEVELOPED LANDS Natural floodplains evolved to handle regular flooding. Urban and agricultural development impedes the ability of floodplain soils and plants to mitigate flooding damages. Conserving and restoring floodplain environments can offer a cost-effective mitigation solution to communities. Napa County, CA Since the 1970s, Napa County residents have suffered $542 million in property damage alone from flooding. In 1998, the residents of Napa County, California formed a community-based planning process known as the Community Coalition for Napa Flood Management. The plan is a multi-objective watershed-wide plan for flood damage reduction, river and watershed restoration, and economic revitalization. Photo: USACE San Francisco District The plan has a main goal of reconnecting the Napa River to its natural floodplain and maintaining the natural depth-to-width ratio, modeled on the concept of a Living River. The project included the removal and breach of levees in order to allow tide to restore the marsh plains. Over 1,000 acres of wetlands have been restored; 11 acres of riverbanks were cleaned of petroleum spills; 5 bridges were replaced; 33 buildings and warehouses were purchased, demolished and relocated, including 9 houses, 53 mobile homes, and the Napa Valley wine train tracks; and 900 acres of river adjacent agricultural lands were purchased. Among the impacts of the project is the mitigation of the severity of flood events, as well as the physical improvement of the City of Napa and surrounding environment. Approximately 75% of the plan has been completed. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers portions - including excavation, setback levees, terrace grading, in-channel work, and railroad bridges - are all in various states of completion. Almost 100% of the local elements were completed. These elements include the cost of lands, easements, and rights-of-way, and relocation of utilities, structures and railroads. Original estimates for the plan totaled $250 million: $100 million from federal and state government, and $150 million from local taxpayers and the tourists who visit Napa Valley. The community of Napa voted to raise taxes that would fund the necessary resources to implement the plan. The total costs have almost doubled the original estimates for the project, but higher than expected proceeds from the half-cent sales tax and State of California bonds for flood control have managed to keep the local expenditure side of the equation in balance. Together with the mitigation of flood risk and improvement of natural beauty, economic growth is taking place in downtown Napa and throughout the Napa Valley. This economic boom has been associated with an increase in tourism and ecotourism activities, recreational activities and associated services; as well as increased real estate value. Since the beginning of the project, property values have increased by 20 percent with a 20 percent decrease in flood insurance rates.
16 UNDEVELOPED LANDS Natural floodplains evolved to handle regular flooding. Urban and agricultural development impedes the ability of floodplain soils and plants to mitigate flooding damages. Conserving and restoring floodplain environments can offer a cost-effective mitigation solution to communities. Onion Creek, TX In 2005, Travis County, Texas initiated the development of a greenway to protect stream corridors and floodplains. The developed area included existing parks and large tracts of lands within the 100-year floodplain that landowners were willing to sell. Residents of Travis County were involved in the planning Photo: Travis County process through public engagement and outreach. For example, a citizens bond advisory committee was appointed by Travis County Commissioners to facilitate the public engagement process. Other parties involved included the Austin-Bastrop River Corridor Partnership, the Trust for Public Land, and the City of Austin. The Onion Creek Greenway was implemented with the following goals: (1) enhance flood mitigation, (2) increase recreational outdoor opportunities, (3) provide alternative methods of transportation for the City of Austin, (4) increase real estate values, and (5) connect fragmented habitats to benefit wildlife populations. The successful approval of the project was the result of a multi-pronged strategy. During the 2005 county bond election, Travis County residents voted to approve funding for the project. Additionally, the package was presented to voters as a single park proposition rather than as individual propositions. Other measures used to ensure the bond was passed include coordinating priorities with a system-wide parks master plan and successfully implementing several park projects approved by voters. In the 2005 county bond election, voters approved $8.6 million for the Onion Creek Greenway to protect and restore bottomland forest. Most of this funding was used in the land acquisition process. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also contributed some money for land acquisition. Greenbelts and natural spaces benefit water quality and wildlife as they provide recreation and health benefits for people. Greenspaces also increase property value to those properties near and adjacent to it. Placing floodplain land into permanent conservation has also prevented development from spreading into high-risk areas.
17 UNDEVELOPED LANDS Natural floodplains evolved to handle regular flooding. Urban and agricultural development impedes the ability of floodplain soils and plants to mitigate flooding damages. Conserving and restoring floodplain environments can offer a cost-effective mitigation solution to communities. Sanibel, FL Throughout the 20th century, many coastal Florida communities did not include environmental considerations into their comprehensive plans and developments. Alternatively, the City of Sanibel adopted a comprehensive plan in 1976 to protect beneficial functions of interior wetlands and coastal ecosystems and to adopt development and density standards that reflect the capacity of the native landscapes. Photo: Mariette College Biology Department Unhappy with the high-density zoning handed down by the county government, the residents of Sanibel Island voted to become an incorporated city in This gave them the political power to make land use decisions that protected the natural resources of the island. The city council then selected Ian McHarg, author of Design with Nature, as their planning consultant to draft the plan and recommend zoning codes and maps. The planner was also responsible for receiving public input through interviews and workshops. The non-profit Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) organized scientists to write the Sanibel Report, which provided detailed descriptions of natural systems of Sanibel and to suggest means for conservation. The findings of the Sanibel Report were incorporated into the city s official comprehensive plan (the Sanibel Plan). In addition to environmentally-conscious development ordinances, the plan also called for much of the island s land to be held in permanent conservation. Through voluntary land acquisitions that took place starting in 1967 and continue today, the majority of interior wetlands are in public ownership and protected for conservation purposes. Acquisitions are funded primarily by the SCCF, which works in conjunction with the city and state government to preserve natural lands. After incorporation, the city levied taxes to pay for the planning process. Funding for the environmental assessment and much of the land acquisitions is provided by the SCCF. Tourism, especially ecotourism, continues to bring in large amounts of money for the city every year through taxes that help fund continued conservation efforts and regular updates of the comprehensive plan. Sanibel Island is commonly considered to be a great example of a sustainable community and has been awarded the prestigious National Planning Landmark Award for the 1976 Sanibel Plan. The protection of the natural environment has attracted new residents and millions of visitors, resulting in increased investment and a higher tax base, without exceeding the carrying capacity of the island. Additionally, informed development has limited loss of life and property on Sanibel Island, creating a prosperous and resilient community.
18 UNDEVELOPED LANDS Natural floodplains evolved to handle regular flooding. Urban and agricultural development impedes the ability of floodplain soils and plants to mitigate flooding damages. Conserving and restoring floodplain environments can offer a cost-effective mitigation solution to communities. South Carolina Coast Rolling easements were established on South Carolina s coast in the Beach Front Management Act of This allows development, but prohibits structures from being built within a certain zone which rolls back with an encroaching shoreline. It allows natural habitats to migrate without impediments, while providing flexibility to property owners and coastal communities. The Beach Front Management (BFM) Act of 1988 was put in place to establish a setback line on the coast of South Carolina. As such, some landowners on the sea side of the setback line Image: US Global Change Research Program owned property that no longer held its original value. In response, the legislature was prompted to amend the Beach Front Management Act in 1990 to allow for a rolling easement on any lot located on the sea side of the setback line. Rolling easements are a special type of easement placed along the shoreline to prevent property owners from holding back the sea through hard shoreline stabilization structures, but allow any other type of use and activity on the land. As the sea advances, the easement automatically moves or "rolls" landward. However, some "soft" erosion control methods can be used including beach renourishment, building up artificial dunes, and temporarily placing small sandbags around a home. If homes are damaged or destroyed during a storm, they are allowed to rebuild as long as high ground still exists. If the lot is submerged during high tide, rebuilding/repairing is no longer allowed. Because no land was physically changed during this process, the only actions taken by the government were those of the legislature to amend the BFM Act. No land acquisition process, or takings, was needed because all landowners were still allowed to use and develop on their land. Since no physical changes were made, nor land acquired, the local, state, and national governments were not required to spend taxpayer dollars to implement rolling easements. Additionally, all land seaward of the setback line was able to be used at the property owner s discretion, and any land could be used for profitability.
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