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Floodplain News

2016 - December
By Mitch Paine, CFM From December 2016 Floodplain Management Today Every community that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program in Nebraska has a local ordinance. The elements of that ordinance are guided by state minimum standards as well as the federal standards in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 44. The state and federal standards apply in every community, big or small, but don’t necessarily provide direction for every development situation that might...
2016 - December
By Mitch Paine, CFM From December 2016 Floodplain Management Today During 2016, NeDNR analyzed Nebraska floodplains in order to answer the question “who lives in floodplains?” Having an answer can help plan for flooding, identify vulnerable populations, and prepare for a smoother recovery process. The answer to that question proved surprising and concerning. After examining communities across the state, we found that floodplains play host to a far greater percentage of renters...
2016 - December
By Chuck Chase, CFM From December 2016 Floodplain Management Today Many floodplain administrators find themselves in a situation where a property owner wants to add on to a house or build a shed, and since they have a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) for the property, they feel they do not need a floodplain permit. A closer look at the LOMA reveals that it only covers a portion of the property, which is described in a paragraph of metes and bounds measurements. How is a typical...
2016 - December
By Chuck Chase, CFM and Mitch Paine, CFM From December 2016 Floodplain Management Today In floodplain management, the terms “building” and “structure” are used interchangeably. The floodplain management definition for a building/structure, which is in all local ordinances, mirrors the definition found in the state and federal minimum standards: “a walled and roofed building, including a gas or liquid storage tank, that is principally above ground, as well as a manufactured home..., Similarly, these oil tanks on the right also meet the definition and would have to be elevated or floodproofed to the same standard as nonresidential structures. However, the Gage County Roads Department’s equipment shed in Beatrice, shown below, may appear to be a building but is only walled on 3 of its 4 sides. Since one side is permanently open, it is not a structure by the definition in Beatrice’s local ordinance. A concrete privacy wall around a property, as another..., Though a privacy fence or an open-sided equipment shed may not be structures, they are still development in a floodplain and require a floodplain development permit. Other standards may apply too, such as no-rise requirements. The floodplain management definition of building is very clear and very inclusive. Grain bins and storage tanks are completely walled and roofed, as are multi-sided homes, and all are buildings according to the standard ordinance definition. Situations will..., A second definition that floodplain administrators should be familiar with is the flood insurance definition for a structure. The NFIP insurance definition from 44 CFR 59 is, “‘Structure’ means: A building with two or more outside rigid walls and a fully secured roof, that is affixed to a permanent site […].” A building can be a structure as defined for insurance purposes, but not as defined by floodplain management regulations. By flood insurance definition, the open equipment...
2016 - September
By Mitch Paine, CFM From September 2016 Floodplain Management Today Every National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy includes a provision called Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC). This coverage can help cover the cost of bringing a flood-damaged building into compliance with floodplain management regulations. While this mainly involves individual flood insurance policies, floodplain administrators play an important role in helping their citizens access ICC funds. If a home..., ICC coverage is part of every NFIP policy, so as long as a homeowner or business owner carries flood insurance, they can access funds to help elevate the home or mitigate the building. ICC not only helps bring damaged buildings into compliance, it also helps families and businesses become more resilient to the next flood that hits. ICC Triggers There are 3 requirements for a policyholder to access ICC coverage: incurring flood damage, obtaining a substantial damage letter from..., First, the damage to the property must be caused by flooding. Damage from other sources cannot trigger ICC. If a property is damaged by flooding and by wind, only the damage from flooding can count toward the damage estimate. Second, the property must sustain substantial damage. Floodplain administrators play an important role in this part of the process. After any damage occurs to buildings, the floodplain administrator must evaluate whether or not individual building damage...
2016 - September
By Kylie Kinley, Nebraska State Historical Society From September 2016 Floodplain Management Today In 1923, Louisville, Nebraska was having a wild weather summer. In late August, the town survived a “baby Twister” that “wreaked its vengeance in one part of town and a block distant no damage was done” (The Courier, Aug. 31, 1923). The town’s paper, The Louisville Courier, reported: “The band stand at the baseball grounds was wrecked and loose boards flew about promiscuously, yet..., That dry spell ended September 27, 1923. Rain fell in a torrential downpour for most of the day. Debris began piling up against a bridge south of town and backed up the water in Mill Creek, which flows from south to north through Louisville. The first notice of danger came from water pouring through the doors of a house near Mill Creek. , William McCarver, who had gathered with family and friends after his mother’s funeral, snatched up his two sons. His brother-in-law Alfred Laird grabbed his own daughter, and they rushed the children to a neighbor’s house to safety before returning for the other members of the house – including both their wives, McCarver’s brother, an aunt, a neighbor, and five other children. Seconds after the two men entered the door, the house began to move. Floating timbers, trees, and..., Onlookers were not sure if the occupants drowned or if the trees and debris crushed the house. All twelve of the house’s inhabitants died. Two of the bodies were never found. The Courier writes, “The unfortunate people were well known in this town and were highly respected and had many friends…the town and all the neighboring towns have spared no effort to search for the bodies not yet recovered and have worn themselves out in their disappointment. We can only trust to time to..., Another remarkable detail is the way this disaster brought previous residents streaming back to the town to visit friends and relatives. The Courier ran an entire page of “personal paragraphs” detailing all of the visitors and their activities, many of whom arrived “to spend the day with old friends and neighbors and express sympathy for them and to look over the wreckage of the former homes here carried away by the flood waters” (Oct. 12, 1923). Businesses ran..., Unfortunately, thefts were reported along with the reports of bravery and generosity. The Courier writes, “Special police have been put on and night watchmen patrol the stricken district and thieves will be dealt with as they deserve if apprehended” (Oct. 5, 1923). In addition, The Courier reported on October 19 that “no more money is needed for relief. Unsolicited by the people of Louisville, funds have rolled in from all sources in amounts from $1 to $500 for the sufferers...
2016 - June
By Mitch Paine, CFM From June 2016 Floodplain Management Today Basements are a way of life for most Nebraskans. We store things in them, host parties in them, and have bedrooms or home offices in them. They also act as storm shelters, and many of us have weathered high winds or tornados in them. As common as basements are in most of our homes, they are generally not safe for floodprone areas and cause problems for both life safety and property loss. During flooding in May of..., Understanding when basements are allowed or not can be complicated. This article aims to give floodplain administrators a better overall understanding of how to regulate buildings planned with basements in flood risk areas and a basic overview of insurance and mitigation measures. Basic Permitting In Nebraska, new or substantially-improved residential buildings must be built with the lowest floor, including basement, to at least 1-foot above base flood elevation. This requirement..., development decisions in floodplains. Often, this precludes a home from having a basement or the property owner must find a location for their new home outside of the special flood hazard area. Homeowners who can’t build with a basement are encouraged to install a safe room as a tornado shelter. Many property owners seek a Letter of Map Change to remove their property from the floodplain. Letters of Map Change Property owners often pursue a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or a..., For the LOMR-F process, a community official does have the ability to influence the permitting process further. An applicant for a LOMR-F must submit to FEMA a community acknowledgement form, which requires a signature and statement from the floodplain administrator. The statement says, “we have determined that the land and any existing or proposed structures to be removed from the SFHA are or will be reasonably safe from flooding…,” in addition to ensuring all other permits..., Floodplain administrators should request certification by a qualified design professional from the applicant before signing the community acknowledgement forms. The condition of “reasonably safe from flooding,” which seems vague, is further outlined in Technical Bulletin 10 (TB-10). Technical Bulletin 10 TB-10 outlines an evaluation process to ensure a property located on fill or near the floodplain is reasonably safe from flooding. A number of options, specifications, and...
2016 - June
By Chuck Chase, CFM From June 2016 Floodplain Management Today , Let us assume the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) is up the bank on the left side of this picture. The floor of the shed pictured is well below BFE and the owner has been uncooperative in moving, raising, or venting it. You have gone and taken an exceptional picture with your cell phone to show how this shed sits well below the BFE. It is a superb picture that tells the whole story of this violation. Imagine your disappointment when the judge throws it out. In the last newsletter, we..., Some of these tools are actions that might be strictly reviewed, or at times challenged in the court by the landowner. Therefore, here are some recommendations you may wish to consider as you move forward. The first issue with the situation above is that you used your own cell phone to take the picture. Although this will not cause a judge to throw the evidence out, it could give cause for the defense attorney to subpoena your phone as evidence and then be retained by the court..., Instead, begin with an establishing shot, as seen to the right. A good establishing shot will have landmarks in it that cannot be denied, such as a street sign, house number, trees, fire hydrant, etc. You can see that the establishing shot example is an undeniable photo of the owners property. The house number by the door, the trees, the mail box, the hydrant makes this house clearly the property in question. From there you can go to the excellent picture of the shed and no one..., These actions may include filing liens on the subject property, restrictions on use, stop work orders, Section 1316 declarations, or even just withholding the occupancy permit. Some of these may take a court order and some you may be able to do on your own, but all are subject to legal review. Make sure you are documenting in a professional manner. Get your community’s attorney involved. Build the case before it becomes a case. Although we are beginning to talk about legal...
2016 - March
By Chuck Chase, CFM From March 2016 Floodplain Management Today , Yes, I can clearly see several violations in this photo. Yet, unfortunately, “ugly” is not one of them. This article is the first part in a series we will present on floodplain management violations and enforcement. Many floodplain administrators have asked our office about dealing with violations situations. This year we hope to offer a workshop on the topic. We all know about the options in the ordinance dealing with fines and legal action. Yet it’s to everyone’s best interest to..., Know Your Ordinance Knowing your floodplain ordinance thoroughly will allow you to speak with confidence. You will be able to address issues with an air of collaboration without the hint of uncertainty. Some perceive this uncertainty as a reason to simply do what they want. And be very familiar with your Flood Insurance Rate Map. Watch Your Body Language The goal in any situation is to achieve compliance voluntarily, not by resorting to fines or other enforcement actions....
2016 - March
By Chuck Chase, CFM From March 2016 Floodplain Management Today In the last newsletter we had an article addressing the newly mapped procedure and an upcoming deadline for your citizens whose homes had been newly identified in the SFHA since October of 2008. The application of the newly mapped procedure to a community getting new maps in the future is still a pertinent subject. When new Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) are created, we may discover a property is actually at a...
2016 - March
By Mitch Paine, CFM From March 2016 Floodplain Management Today Of all natural hazards, flooding affects the most people and property every year. Even though the problem of flooding seems prevalent to some people, much of the general public doesn’t realize the risk that flooding poses. One of our roles as floodplain managers is to help the public, particularly those who live in flood risk areas, understand the risk, grasp the reality, and prepare their families for the..., Many people have trouble understanding flood risk because they have never experienced, seen, or heard of it in their community before. A common phrase we all hear is “we’ve never had flooding here before, why should we have to build our house up?” We can’t, of course, go back and create flooding to show people what it looked like when flooding actually did occur. But, we can show people aspects of historical floods to help the public visualize history. The Highwater Mark Campaign, an..., Nearly 20 highwater mark signs were requested by communities across the state from Omaha to Hooper to Scottsbluff. These signs are placed in prominent locations that will connect real events in history to modern-day flood risk. On each of the signs reads a story from a flood event in that community’s history. For example, in Louisville, the Mill Creek flood of 1923 remains the deadliest flood in the city. The sign reads, “September 28, 1923: On this day, a cloudburst storm sent..., After flooding damaged the same homes in 1993, many were bought and removed by the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District.” At this location, a surveyed elevation marker will show visitors the height of the floodwaters in 2011 as well as the height of the base flood elevation. An electronic code on each sign will take the visitor to a website where they can learn more about flood history and flood safety. This project will hopefully help the average citizen better...
2015 - December
By John Gerber, North Carolina NFIP Coordinator, and edited by NeDNR From December 2015 Floodplain Management Today The current FEMA Elevation Certificate (and Floodproofing Certificate) expired July 31, 2015, but the Federal Office of Management and Budget has been extending the expiration date month by month with the latest extension going until Nov. 30, 2015. While they finish their review and approve the updated form, continue using the existing form even if it says “...
2015 - December
By John Callen, PE, CFM From December 2015 Floodplain Management Today For floodplain managers, compliance for appurtenant structures, sometimes referred to as accessory structures by FEMA, can be a challenge. FEMA has issued several guidance documents on this topic, and some of these guidance documents refer to the ability to put flood vent openings (or wet floodproofing) in appurtenant structures for compliance purposes. However, in Nebraska most local floodplain management...
2015 - December
By Chuck Chase, CFM From December 2015 Floodplain Management Today Over my 6 months with NDNR, we have heard many requests for training for new floodplain administrators. We know how difficult it can be to suddenly step into this unfamiliar role, laden with additional responsibilities. While NDNR and FEMA offer many training opportunities, they’re only available certain times throughout the year. We have created a set of resources for all new floodplain administrators that they...
2015 - September
By John Callen, PE, CFM From September 2015 Floodplain Management Today Under the ordinance provisions governing floodplain management in communities that participate in the NFIP, certain types of construction are required to have flood openings (sometimes called flood vents) in order to comply with regulatory requirements. For local floodplain managers, there are several key considerations to keep in mind when processing floodplain permit and certification requirements for..., Flood openings are used as a technique to reduce potential damage to buildings elevated on crawlspaces and are intended to allow the automatic entry and exit of floodwaters into the crawlspace. This approach provides relief from pressure exerted by floodwater on building foundations with openings, which minimizes and sometimes prevents significant damage to the structure’s foundation. Ordinances specify several criteria for the design and permitting of structures built with..., This means that the fully enclosed area below lowest floor can’t be subgrade on all four sides (which is a basement). The system of flood openings must be designed to allow the automatic entry and exit of floodwaters and should either be designed for the specific structure and certified by a registered professional engineer or architect or meet or exceed the minimum criteria for non-engineered openings. For non-engineered openings, there must be a minimum of two openings having...
2015 - September
By Mitch Paine, CFM From September 2015 Floodplain Management Today In early 2013, NDNR and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) approached the Village of Cedar Creek and the City of Louisville about digging deeper into flood risk information for properties in their communities. Both towns in Cass County were extremely interested and so set off the 2 year Cass County Mitigation project that yielded tremendous results for all partners. Cedar Creek and Louisville wanted to..., Using the data collected for each structure, USACE was able to figure out which properties were most at risk and determine appropriate mitigation alternatives for each structure. Both communities stressed doing outreach and meeting with property owners as part of the project, so the agencies sought to make the data useful to homeowners and business owners. Maps were created, flood information by address was assembled, and flood insurance scenarios were developed, all to help..., The public was invited to attend an open house in Louisville on February 24th, 2015 to learn more about the data collected and mitigation actions they can take. Over 75 community members attended, many of whom were from Cedar Creek and were concerned with flood insurance rates. Randy Behm and Tony Krause from USACE, Shandi Teltschik from FEMA, and Mitch Paine from NDNR presented at the open house. The presentations consisted of an overview of home mitigation and floodproofing..., After the presentations, various staff from USACE, NDNR, and FEMA sat with residents to help them understand their own property conditions. The one-on-one conversations helped bring the complex world of floodplain management and flood insurance down to an understandable level. Most of the audience members stayed to discuss their own property with the agency representatives. They left with a much better understanding of their property risk and their options to..., While the open house was a very successful event, Dee Arias and Chuck Paukert, CFM, the floodplain administrators for Louisville and Cedar Creek, respectively, have taken all of the information about properties and used it to enhance their own outreach to citizens. When people call their offices to inquire about properties, they now have a wealth of information to give to their callers. With all of the additional flood risk data, better decisions can be made about improving...
2015 - June
From June 2015 Floodplain Management Today On May 1st, the city of Lincoln officially became a Class 5 CRS community; the highest rated in the state! Flood insurance policyholders in the city now save nearly $500,000 in premiums every year due to the 25% discount. The city’s rating recognizes the outstanding floodplain management program in place. From conducting outreach projects to adopting higher regulatory standards, Lincoln is well deserving of its rating. The city’s...
2015 - June
By Mitch Paine, CFM From June 2015 Floodplain Management Today As the rainfall records come in, May 2015 stands as the wettest month in history for the United States. Many communities in Nebraska saw record levels of rain and accompanying flooding. Levees and other flood defenses were tested and hundreds, if not thousands, of basements and first floors were flooded throughout the southeastern part of the state. The flooding also gave floodplain administrators a challenge in..., DeWitt was hit hardest by flooding from Turkey Creek, with nearly 4 feet of water throughout town and almost every house was affected. The streamgage nearby registered a historic crest of 30.27 feet, more than 4 feet above the previous record, and a peak flow of 28,300 cfs. Dozens of homeowners pumped water out of their basements the weekend after the flooding and many basement foundation walls collapsed. Some homes moved on their foundations entirely, leaving..., Damage to homes also meant that community officials in DeWitt had to review substantial damage, one of those not-often used parts of every community’s ordinance. As building owners in the village came in seeking a permit for their rebuild, some inevitably will have to elevate their building above the base flood elevation. While a headache for those property owners, they will be safer from flooding in the future. Other communities near DeWitt saw substantial impacts from..., Lincoln also saw significant flooding effects. The early May storm system poured rain almost directly over the Salt Creek watershed and sent staggering amounts of water rushing through the city. 5 of the 9 streamgages in Lincoln, on Salt Creek or its tributaries, saw record high crests on May 7th. As the water came flowing in to Lincoln from the south, Wilderness Park provided the first flood reduction buffer. The park acted like a huge sponge, slowing the flow and letting the creek..., South Bottoms neighborhood, which lies behind the levees, also saw significant water in the streets and basements because drainage was blocked up by the high water in Salt Creek. For the first time in at least 50 years, the Lancaster Emergency Management called for voluntary evacuation of South Bottoms and North Bottoms neighborhoods for fear that the levees may be overtopped. , One community in the path of the flooding not as worried about flood damage was Beatrice. In the last edition of Floodplain Management Today, we explored the benefits of open space and property acquisition and included examples from Beatrice. The city saw its 3rd highest crest on the Big Blue River in May, but had virtually no flood damage. The parks in the floodplain had to be cleared of debris and a few roads needed repairs, but no neighborhoods were...
2015 - June
By Shuhai Zheng, Ph.D., PE, CFM From June 2015 Floodplain Management Today Heavy May 2015 rainfall and snow (5 to 10 inches) in eastern Colorado have increased South Platte River flows and caused flooding across Colorado and Nebraska this spring. The river was estimated to peak at about 16,500 cfs at the Nebraska-Colorado stateline, which produced minor to moderate flooding along the river. With high flows from the South Platte River, the Platte River reached flooding stage..., Unusual spring snow and rain (5 to 10 inches) throughout much of eastern Wyoming and Western Nebraska pushed Grayrocks Reservoir and Glendo reservoir levels into their flood pools, which has required increased releases of water. Both of these reservoirs are in the North Platte River basin. With the reservoirs’ releases and high rainfall, the North Platte River rose to flood stage from the Wyoming-Nebraska state line all the way to Lewellen. The crest of the...
2015 - June
By Mitch Paine, CFM From June 2015 Floodplain Management Today Over the past year, the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources reviewed over 50 comprehensive development plans from various communities throughout the state. Our goal was to examine the plans to see how well flood risk is addressed for the long-range plan for growth and development in communities. The basic floodplain management regulations often address development after the decision to build in a floodplain has...
2015 - March
By Mitch Paine, CFM From March 2015 Floodplain Management Today Floodplains serve useful natural ecological functions, like storing floodwaters, and their best use is open space. If no structures are present in an area subject to flooding, then no damages occur and people’s lives are not in danger. Communities clean up and recover after a flood much quicker and more cheaply if flooding just affects open space. In the Community Rating System (CRS) Activity 420, preserved open..., We would do well to learn from Fort Collins, Colorado. The City had a program to purchase properties in the floodplain for many decades. Currently nearly 70% of the floodplain is open space and in the 2013 flooding, damage was minimal from floodwaters in Fort Collins, while so many other Colorado communities were devastated. It is only a matter of time before flooding hits our communities and every acre of open space means fewer lives or buildings at risk...
2015 - March
By Marlin Petermann, Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District From March 2015 Floodplain Management Today In late December 2014 and early January 2015, cold temperatures and winter conditions set the stage for possible ice jams along the Platte and Elkhorn Rivers. That partnership we have set up between various NRDs, state and federal agencies, and local governments kept a watchful eye on the river conditions. On January 26th, 2015, ice chunks, broken up from the frozen..., On January 27th, early in the morning, volunteer fire departments were called to rescue 4 people from flooded campgrounds at Two Rivers State Park in Douglas County. Papio-Missouri River NRD staff flew the river that day and noticed an ice jam along the Platte River extending approximately 1.5 miles from just south of the extension of Q street. Significant flooding occurred between Saunders County Roads K and L. Some homes along the river had to be protected and evacuated. Part of the ice..., Seepage through the levee was observed at various points and the contractor working on the project worked quickly to shore up the levee. The Papio-Missouri River NRD consulted the partner agencies and declared a flood emergency on the 27th. The ice jam explosives contractor (Dykon Explosives out of Tulsa, OK) was notified to mobilize for blasting operations. The NRD considered two major potential impacts: the situation at the Clear Creek levee and the forecast for more cold...
2014 - December
By John Callen, PE, CFM From December 2014 Floodplain Management Today When a local government joins the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), it agrees to adopt and enforce a floodplain management ordinance to ensure development is safe from flooding and local building owners can purchase flood insurance. In addition, Nebraska Statutes say, in part, that when a local government has been provided with sufficient data and flood maps, that community shall adopt, administer,...
2014 - December
By Mitch Paine, CFM From December 2014 Floodplain Management Today As ice builds up in the shallow Platte River every winter, there is a false sense of security about a river that appears stopped in motion. But, as the temperatures rise later in the season, so does residents’ and communities’ anxiety about the potential for ice jam flooding. The large ice chunks that break up with warming temperatures and late winter rainfall flow downstream, and too much ice can cause flooding..., When ice builds up against a bridge or a bend in the river, it backs the river up, potentially for miles. The water flowing from upstream spills out onto the floodplain and can destroy roads, bridges, crops, or wellhouses as well as homes and businesses. When the ice finally gives way, water held back flushes down and can then cause significant flooding downstream. A wide swath of the northern United States suffers similar frozen river fates every winter..., Flooding from ice jams affects states like Montana, Wyoming, New York, and New Hampshire. Many rivers in Nebraska see this problem as well. The Loup River and its tributaries are among the most notorious for the number of ice jams every year in the country, although flooding causes much less damage than other places. Because flooding can happen very quickly and can imperil riverside residents, ice jams cause major worry for emergency managers along the Lower Platte River. The..., This partnership among agencies is key to keeping people along the Lower Platte River safe during the winter and spring months. It was one of the first partnerships of its type in the country when it started in the 1990’s. In addition to monitoring the river, the partnership takes action on ice jams if necessary. When an ice jam looks likely, coal bottom ash from the Sheldon Power Station can be laid down on the ice. This “dusting” helps the sunlight heat the ice and melt faster. , If ice jams actually occur and cause significant flooding, the Papio NRD holds a contract with an explosives company to strategically blast the ice in spots to open the river up and help it flow. Both the dusting and blasting are done with extreme caution and significant consultation among the partnership. NEMA obtains NDEQ permits every year for coal bottom ash dusting to ensure the river’s ecology is not adversely impacted. Many people and communities have memories and...
2014 - September
By Mitch Paine, CFM From September 2014 Floodplain Management Today Nebraska has had a slew of natural disasters recently. From the flooding along the Missouri River in 2011 to the tornado activity of 2014, communities have faced the wrath of Mother Nature. In many of these disasters, floodplain administrators have had to become very involved. Floodplain administrators often wear multiple hats, serving additionally as village clerks or emergency managers, but they play crucial...
2014 - September
By Mitch Paine, CFM From September 2014 Floodplain Management Today Communities get phone calls from their residents, business owners, lenders, and realtors asking for basic information about floodplain management and often these individuals are interested to dive deeper into the topic to learn more. There are some important resources that all communities, not just those in CRS, can have on their websites or in their libraries. CRS Activity 350 credits materials you put on your...
2014 - May
By Bill Jones, CFM From May 2014 Floodplain Management Today The FEMA Elevation Certificate includes Section A. Certain structures are designed to have flood openings in accordance with local floodplain management ordinances. Section A is where surveyors provide information on openings that allow floodwater to enter a building to equalize the pressure against crawlspace and attached garage walls to prevent collapse in areas located below the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). FEMA..., To illustrate the importance of using net area, in the example to the right, the gross opening area is 108.6 square inches, however, with 13 openings of 6.5” by 0.5”, the NET opening area is only 42.5 square inches. Surveyors using the FEMA Elevation Certificate provide the net area, and if that area in square inches does not equal or exceed the enclosed area in square feet, floodplain administrators and insurance agents must use the “lowest floor, including basement or crawlspace,” as the..., That would mean that the reference level for compliance and insurance rating would remain at the lowest floor; this is typically the bottom of the crawlspace or other area intended to have flood vents. Ornamental covers are allowed, however, as illustrated above, it important that the owner/builder understand the ramifications of partially covering these openings. Covers on openings must function without human intervention. If using covers with closures, they must be left in...
2014 - May
By Mitch Paine, CFM From May 2014 Floodplain Management Today In our last edition of Floodplain Management Today, we discussed important things to know when looking to apply for the NFIP Community Rating System (CRS). In this and future editions, we’ll delve into some of the individual CRS elements and talk about what your community can do to both obtain CRS points and develop better floodplain management programs. For those communities who don’t participate in CRS, this can be...
2014 - February
From February 2014 Floodplain Management Today After the significant rainfall in mid-September 2013 in the mountains near Boulder and Denver in Colorado, an unprecedented surge of floodwater came downstream to Nebraska. There was concern that the floodwaters could inundate areas along the South Platte and Platte Rivers in Nebraska. Streamgages in Colorado were destroyed by the flooding, so the amount of floodwater that would enter Nebraska was uncertain. NDNR sent streamgaging...
2014 - February
By Mitch Paine, CFM From February 2014 Floodplain Management Today The National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary program that rewards a community’s floodplain management activities and can also help flood insurance policyholders see reduced premiums. Many communities in Nebraska have considered CRS and have found that there are many benefits from joining the program. Communities that participate in CRS are safer and more resilient to...
2013 - September
By John Callen, PE, CFM From September 2013 Floodplain Management Today The Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NDNR) assists National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) participating communities and other government entities throughout the State with a wide range of flood mitigation activities. Recently, NDNR helped the Village of DeWitt, NE obtain grant funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant program for a..., This project involved installation of several flap gates on existing drainage structures along Highway 103 adjacent to DeWitt. This highway lies between Turkey Creek and the Village of DeWitt. The installation of the flap gates will help reduce the potential for back flow flooding into the Village when Turkey Creek floods. On May 31, 2013, a high water event occurred along Turkey Creek that provided an early test for the newly installed flap gates. They..., One of the reasons this project was funded by FEMA was because of the relatively low cost of the project relative to the benefits. It also fulfills an FMA program requirement of providing flood risk reduction to structures insured under the NFIP. , FMA grants provide a 75% project cost share and can be used either for flood risk mitigation planning or for flood risk mitigation projects. Potential project types include but are not limited to acquisition or elevation of at risk structures, or eligible engineering projects that reduce flood risk to structures. All projects must be cost beneficial according to FEMA’s guidelines and may be subject to other eligibility requirements. Recently, FEMA issued updated guidance for..., It is now easier to implement these types of mitigation for at risk structures that are in the regulatory floodplain on FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps. For more information on the FMA program and information on potential project eligibility or other technical assistance, please contact Katie Ringland at Katie.Ringland@nebraska.gov or go to: https://www.fema.gov/flood-mitigation-assistance-program.

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