GALVESTON, Texas (Feb. 12, 2015) –
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District encourages agency partners, local non-federal sponsors and customers to participate in upcoming listening sessions regarding the 2015 Executive Order, Establishing of a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS) and a Process for Further Soliciting and Considering Stakeholder Input,
as well as in the 60-day public comment period open through April 6.
“The executive order, released Jan. 30, 2015, requires all future federal investments in (and affecting) floodplains to meet a higher level of resilience, including where federal funds are used to build new structures and facilities or to rebuild those that have been damaged,” said Levee Safety Manager Scott Leimer, USACE Galveston District. “These listening sessions are still being coordinated and will be held throughout the nation in March, with virtual sessions available for those who cannot attend.”
According to Leimer, the establishment of this new standard builds off of work done by the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force that announced in April 2013 that all federally-funded Sandy-related rebuilding projects funded by the Sandy Supplemental (Public Law 113-2) must meet a consistent, and higher, flood risk reduction standard. Additionally in June 2013, the president directed federal agencies to take appropriate action to reduce risks to federal investments and called on federal agencies to revise their flood risk standard.
“Flooding has the potential to create loss of life and property as well as impact our economic prosperity,” said Leimer. “Water-related disasters account for approximately 85% of all disaster declarations in the United States.”
The USACE reports that between 1980 and 2013, the nation suffered more than $260 billion in flood-related damages and notes that citizens can anticipate flooding risks to increase over time.
“In implementing the FFRMS, agencies are given the flexibility to select one of three approaches for establishing the flood elevation and hazard area they use in making decisions on design and construction criteria,” said Leimer.
The Mitigation Framework Leadership Group produced draft implementing guidelines to apply the FFRMS. Over the next 60 days, the group will host a series of listening sessions to solicit stakeholder input on the draft implementing guidelines. Written comments are also accepted through the Federal Register Notice process via email at FEMA-FFRMS@fema.dhs.gov
(before the April 6, 2015, deadline) and through virtual listening session from those unable to attend the public sessions.
“After the 60-day comment period is complete, federal departments and agencies will be required to submit a plan within 30 days to implement this new policy,” said Leimer. “No agency will implement the new standard before soliciting public input as required in the FY15 Appropriations Act.”
Leimer stated that the listening session schedule and contact information will be available in late February and will be posted on the home page of the USACE Galveston District’s website. Draft interagency implementing guidelines can be found at www.fema.gov/floodplain-management/FFRMS
and participants can comment at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/02/05/2015-02284/guidelines-for-implementing-executive-order-11988-floodplain-management-as-revised#h-6
For more news and information, visit www.swg.usace.army.mil
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