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Blogs / ICMA | blog / Flood Mitigation and Management: National Preparedness Month, Part 1

Flood Mitigation and Management: National Preparedness Month, Part 1

September is National Preparedness Month, and its theme this year is “Don't Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.” 

At ICMA we pride ourselves in providing resources to help you build a better community, and an emergency plan is an important component of that.  During the month of September the In the Know blog will identify resources inside and outside the Knowledge Network to help you plan for flood, wildfire, hurricane, and power outage emergencies.

Flooding can have immediate and long-term impacts on a community.  FEMA, in its Local Mitigation Planning Handbook,  states that the best way to mitigate the impacts of flooding is to develop a comprehensive emergency plan.  I have identified some resources that can help you deal with the unique challenges that come with planning a response for a flood emergency.

  1. This document from the United National Environment Program (UNEP) states that one can use green infrastructure solutions to mitigate flood events. The document addresses water management challenges as well as the costs and benefits of green infrastructure solutions.
  2. The FEMA Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant Program (FMA), established by the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, provides funding to communities that reduce or eliminate long-term risk of flood damage. This page provides more information about the grant program. 
  3. Life, Well Run highlighted how Charles City, Iowa, administrator Tom Brownlow used flood planning to address the damage flooding wreaked on the community’s waterfront.  This community developed a dam to mitigate flood events and simultaneously created the only white water course within 1,000 miles. Most importantly, the new Riverfront Park has become a focal point of activity for Charles City residents.
  4. One important component of flood management is stormwater management.  This blog post identifies resources for managing stormwater.
  5. The Municipal Research and Services Center, a nonprofit organization supporting the success of local government in the state of Washington, published an article that identifies resources on flood hazard management planning.

Also, check out the Emergency Management: Principles and Practice for Local Government, 2nd Edition. This textbook from ICMA is a comprehensive resource on state-of-the-art emergency management for local government.

Let us know how your community participates in National Preparedness Month!

Douglas Shontz

Knowledge Network Intern


Neil Britto

Creating emergency plans in the case of flooding is indeed paramount. And yes, the short term and long term effects of flooding can be significant-along with their cost. In 2010, flooding, and the wildfire that precipitated it, just north of Flagstaff, Arizona, caused over $150 million in combined suppression and recovery. If a similar wildfire occurred on the steep slopes surrounding Flagstaff, the subsequent flooding and erosion could render 50 percent of Flagstaff’s drinking water unusable and cost the Flagstaff community approximately $1 billion in damages.

Recognizing the need for preventative action, a partnership between the city, county, state, and federal governments, with support from local non-profit and for-profit organizations, has resulted in the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project (FWPP). With a Flagstaff Wildland Fire Management Officer coordinating FWPP activities, FWPP aims to lessen the risk of potentially devastating wildfires in Flagstaff’s critical watershed areas by by managing forest fuels and restoring natural ecosystem functions. This will include thinning out dense forests and reintroducing a low-intensity fire regime.

You can learn more about the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project by reading The Intersector Project’s case study on the collaboration, “Reducing the risks of catastrophic wildfires in Flagstaff.”

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