• Save the Date--Federal Flood Risk Management Standard Implementation Listening Sessions
  • May 14, 2015
  • Law Firm: Colodny Fass P.A. - Fort Lauderdale Office
  • To improve the nation's resilience to flooding and better prepare for the impacts of climate change, the President's Climate Action Plan of June 2013 directed federal agencies to take the appropriate actions to reduce risk to federal investments, and specifically to update their flood-risk reduction standards.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency ("FEMA") and its federal partners advised today, February 13, 2015, that a series of "Listening Sessions" has been scheduled on the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard Implementation ("Standard"). The sessions are intended to provide an opportunity for agency representatives to listen, ask questions and provide feedback on how federal agencies will implement the Standard.

    Future federal investments in, and affecting floodplains will be required to meet the level of resilience established in the Standard. This includes projects where federal funds are used to build new structures and facilities, or to rebuild those that have been damaged. The goal is to ensure that buildings are constructed to withstand the impacts of flooding, improve the resilience of communities and protect federal investments.

    The Standard also requires agencies to consider the best available, actionable science of both current and future risk when taxpayer dollars are used to build or rebuild in floodplains. On average, more people die annually from flooding than any other natural hazard, according to FEMA. Further, the costs borne by the federal government are more than any other hazard. Water-related disasters account for approximately 85 percent of all disaster declarations.

    FEMA, on behalf of its Mitigation Framework Leadership Group ("MitFLG"), published a draft version of Implementing Guidelines ("Guidelines") that remains open for public comment until April 6, 2015.

    The MitFLG will revise the Guidelines based on input received through the Listening Sessions and comments, and provide recommendations to the Water Resources Council. After considering the recommendations of the MitFLG, the Water Resources Council will issue amended guidelines to federal agencies on the implementation of the Standard. Agencies will not issue or amend existing regulations or program procedures until the Water Resources Council issues amended guidelines that are informed by stakeholder input.

    Various locations have been identified across the nation to solicit feedback on the Guidelines. The MitFLG, a collection of federal agencies with programs and authorities designed to mitigate the impacts of disasters on communities, will accept written comments through the Federal Register process from those unable to attend the public meetings and will also host a virtual listening session in the coming months.