National Disaster Resilience Competition

For the few of you who haven’t heard, the Obama administration announced a major competition for about $1 billion of federal funding. The goal of the National Disaster Resilience Competition is to help communities rebuild and and increase their resilience. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) will be the mechanism to distribute the funds: states and local governments that experienced a Presidentially-declared major disaster in 2011, 2012, and 2013 are eligible to apply for the bulk of the funding (the other part being Sandy-specific).

Read all the early detail here.

Hurricane Preparedness Poster

Hurricane safety posterFrom our friend Mike Spranger:

Those of you involved in public educational programs on hurricane preparedness and planning might be interested in the new poster we developed. I had opportunity to provide the poster and homeowner preparedness handbook to the public at one of our local Lowes stores this weekend. The posters went like hotcakes. They are easy to produce, and you can enlarge to make an attractive poster. We enlarged ours to 3 x 4 foot on vinyl and it drew the public in.

Download the poster here.

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FEMA adds More Information to Map Service Center

We are pleased to announce that you may now find non-regulatory Flood Risk Products (FRPs) on FEMA’s Map Service Center (MSC)! This enhancement makes FRPs available in one authoritative location, helping communities easily access information to help them make better-informed decisions about preparing for and mitigating flood loss.

Available FRPs include Flood Risk Maps (FRMs), Flood Risk Reports (FRRs), and Flood Risk Databases (FRDs).

Say “finally,” or “great work,” as you wish. Either way, it’s good news.

Risk MAP Flood Risk Products

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Senate Passes NFIP (re-)Reform

Looks like the “Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013” is about to become the law of the land, after passing the Senate 72-22.

There are some pretty substantial changes, here’s a good summary, and here’s the ASFPM’s response to it.

While they didn’t win this round, the Bill had substantial opposition. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) was among them.

“One of the goals of the reforms was to ensure that the 5.6 million flood insurance policyholders could collect on their policies if they were ever to suffer a flood loss – something that cannot be guaranteed by a flood insurance program that is currently $25 billion in debt,” Shelby said in a speech on the bill. “The program is bankrupt and only operating by the grace of the American taxpayer.”

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Coastal Barrier Resource Maps to be Updated for Sandy-Hit States

From a press release sent out today:

In October 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) was awarded $5 million through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 to comprehensively modernize the maps of the Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) for the eight states most affected by Hurricane Sandy: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia. This project will result in revised maps for about 370 CBRS units comprising about 44 percent of the total units in the CBRS.

Comprehensively revising the CBRS maps will help increase the resiliency and capacity of coastal habitats and infrastructure to withstand future storms, and reduce the amount of damage caused by such storms by: (1) improving the accuracy and usability of the CBRS maps which will help enhance awareness of and compliance with CBRA and (2) by adding other vulnerable coastal areas that qualify as undeveloped coastal barriers to the CBRS. This effort will also correct mapping errors affecting property owners and provide more accurate and accessible CBRS data for planning coastal infrastructure projects, habitat conservation efforts, and flood risk mitigation measures.

The CBRS was established in 1982 with the passage of the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA). The CBRA and its amendments designated relatively undeveloped coastal barriers along the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico coasts as part of the CBRS, and made these storm-prone and biologically sensitive areas ineligible for most new Federal expenditures that encourage development, including Federal flood insurance.

The Service plans to prepare comprehensively revised draft maps for the eight states listed above by the end of 2017. However, the Service’s recommended changes to the CBRS (including proposed removals and proposed additions) will only become effective once the revised maps are enacted into law by Congress.

For more information head to the project’s webpage.

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Rhode Island Launches new Climate Change

Rhode Island Sea Grant and others have launched a new climate change site on the implications of climate change and sea level rise on the Ocean State.

The site uses multi-media site uses cartoons, animated videos, music and video interviews, as well as extensive science-backed information, to provide a user-friendly exploration of climate change for the general public. A (future) viewer-response section will address their questions and comments.

“Rhode Islanders need the best information available as they adapt to coastal erosion, higher risk from storm surge, shifting seasons and fisheries, and other effects related to climate change. This website can be an important tool in educating our families and communities about what to expect and how to respond to the challenges of climate change.”
—Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Co-Chair of the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change in the U.S. Congress.

Visit riclimatechange.org.

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