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Flood Map Modernization and FEMA Levee Policy February 2008 Doug Bellomo Director, Risk Analysis Division Mitigation Directorate, FEMA.

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Presentation on theme: "Flood Map Modernization and FEMA Levee Policy February 2008 Doug Bellomo Director, Risk Analysis Division Mitigation Directorate, FEMA."— Presentation transcript:

1 Flood Map Modernization and FEMA Levee Policy February 2008 Doug Bellomo Director, Risk Analysis Division Mitigation Directorate, FEMA

2 Flood Map Modernization Overview  National Flood Insurance Program Background  Map Modernization Status  Levees  Flood Risk – What it is and isn’t

3 Flood Map Modernization Overview  National Flood Insurance Program Background  Map Modernization Status  Levees  Flood Risk – What it is and isn’t

4 Flood Map Modernization National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Background  Flood Insurance – the federal government makes it available (more affordable than private market)  Floodplain Management – program participant (local government) agrees to adopt building standards aimed at reducing future risk  Flood Maps – Made collaboratively with state and local governments

5 Flood Map Modernization NFIP Status  Over 20,000 communities participate in the program  Over 5 million flood insurance policies in force  Over $1 trillion in insurance coverage (exposure)

6 Flood Map Modernization Overview  National Flood Insurance Program Background  Map Modernization Status  Levees  Flood Risk – What it is and isn’t

7 Flood Map Modernization Map Modernization Status  Five year roughly $1B effort Began in FY04 Estimated completion FY10  FY08 Budget – Appropriated $220M  Annual planning process results in publication of Multi-Year Flood Hazard Identification Plan (MHIP) Currently working on FY08 MHIP – planned release Spring 2008

8 Flood Map Modernization Performance Metrics – Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) FY04FY05FY06FY07 TargetActualTargetActualTargetActualTargetActual Population w/ digital GIS flood data available online 20%17%50%39%50%48%60% Population with effective maps that meet quality standards 10%8%20%16%25%23%35%32% Using dollars provided through this FY, our goal remains as covering 92% of the nations population with a modernized flood map by 2010

9 Flood Map Modernization Overview  National Flood Insurance Program Background  Map Modernization Status  Levees  Flood Risk – What it is and isn’t

10 Flood Map Modernization Misconceptions  FEMA Certifies Levees – we don’t levee owners or other parties seeking recognition do  Insurance not available in floodplains, areas protected by levees, or behind de-accredited levees – it is as long as the local government participates its available  All levees provide significant protection – they don’t they provide varying levels of protection which can change through time  FEMA’s regulations for how levees are accredited have changed recently – they’ve been on the books since the mid 1980’s  FEMA will only accredit Federal Levees – private levees can also be certified and ultimately accredited

11 Flood Map Modernization What is FEMA doing with respect to levees?  Making sure that levees shown as providing protection do in fact provide the stated level of protection – truth in labeling  Update flood hazard data to reflect existing conditions – not proposed conditions  Work with states, locals, and other federal agencies to ensure the flood risk is properly communicated  Help people make sound decisions based on the facts

12 Flood Map Modernization Levees Interim Guidance for Studies Including Levees  Early in Map Mod FEMA understood the challenge of identifying flood hazards in and around levees  Pre-Katrina (Aug 2005) we issued Procedure Memo 34 emphasizing importance of following existing regulations while updating flood maps Re-iterated what regulations say - levees cannot be assumed to provide 1% annual chance protection

13 Flood Map Modernization Levees Guidelines for Identifying Provisionally Accredited Levees (PAL)  Adjusted mapping procedures further to balance owner need for time and FEMA responsibility to identify flood hazards in a timely way Procedure Memo 43 introduces Provisionally Accredited Levees  Only levees currently accredited are eligible  Responsible parties must state they believe levee meets regulatory requirements  FEMA provides 2 year period to compile required documentation  Levee is “Provisionally Accredited”  Policy was developed in close coordination with the USACE

14 Flood Map Modernization Levees FEMA’s Accreditation Regulations  In place since 1986  44 Code of Federal Regulations Section  Compliance with Section resides with levee owner or other party seeking recognition that a levee provides protection against the base flood  Requirements include aspects of levee Design Operation Maintenance

15 Flood Map Modernization So, what does this mean?  FEMA will continue to: Ask owners or other parties seeking recognition to provide required documentation before showing a levee as providing protection Make accommodations for provisional accreditation of levees when and where appropriate Continue to coordinate closely with the USACE, other federal agencies, and our stakeholders Listen, learn, and adjust within the bounds of the law and our mission

16 Flood Map Modernization What else does it mean?  We all have some responsibility States Locals Levee boards/owners Federal government Home/Business owners  With that responsibility comes an obligation to at a minimum inform, but better - act  Ignoring the problem or delaying action will not make it go away – it makes it worse

17 Flood Map Modernization Overview  National Flood Insurance Program Background  Map Modernization Status  Levees  Flood Risk – What it is and isn’t

18 Flood Map Modernization Flood “Probability” is NOT Flood “Risk”  Flood risk and flood probability are erroneously used interchangeably  This, coupled with a need for legal clarity, has generally led to a zero/one mentality of flood risk High risk (in the floodplain) OR No risk (outside the floodplain)  Its more complicated than that Risk = probability x consequences Risks can be high in situations where relatively low probabilities are offset by high consequences AND Risk can be low where high probabilities are offset by low consequences

19 Flood Map Modernization Some Examples

20 Flood Map Modernization Communicating The Equation  Probabilities – Fear and Uncertainty Largely decided by Mother Nature and understood by few Plagued with assumptions and fraught with uncertainty – “Past performance no indication of future value” Difficult to communicate risk through probabilities effectively  Consequences – Hope and Clarity Largely within an individuals control  Insurance is available  Evacuation plans can be developed and exercised  In communicating risk we should Seek to understand the probabilities and unknowns Accept the uncertainties and fact that science cannot predict the future Resist toiling over the probabilities - they are a trap, fodder for inaction Focus on controlling risk through action aimed at things within our control

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