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Oct 12 -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is issuing this Request for Information to receive the public's input by December 13, 2021 on two topics. First, FEMA seeks the public's input on revising the National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) floodplain management standards for land management and use regulations to better align with the current understanding of flood risk and flood risk reduction approaches. Specifically, FEMA is seeking input from the public on the floodplain management standards that communities should adopt to result in safer, stronger, and more resilient communities. Additionally, FEMA seeks input on how the NFIP can better promote protection of and minimize any adverse impact to threatened and endangered species, and their habitats.
 
The NFIP is a program that makes flood insurance available in those States and communities that agree to adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances to reduce future flood risk. The NFIP enables property owners in participating communities to purchase flood insurance to provide financial protection against flood losses. Joining the NFIP is an important step toward reducing a community's risk from flooding and making a faster, more sustained recovery should flooding occur. Participation in the NFIP is voluntary and is contingent on community compliance with NFIP floodplain management regulations. FEMA does not regulate land use and does not haves authority over local development. Rather, it requires participating communities to adopt the minimum NFIP requirements through zoning codes, subdivision ordinances, and/or building codes or adopt special purpose floodplain management ordinances and encourages communities to exceed those requirements and improve long-range land management and use of flood-prone areas. More than 22,500 communities have agreed to adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances that meet minimum NFIP requirements and provide building standards designed to reduce flood loss for new and existing development.

The NFIP minimum requirements apply to areas designated as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) by FEMA. The SFHA is the area that would be flooded by the “base flood” (defined as the flood that has a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year; also known as the “100-year flood”). The minimum NFIP requirements for participating communities include, but are not limited to: (1) Requiring permits for all proposed construction or other development in the community to determine whether such construction or development will be placed in flood-prone areas; (2) reviewing proposed development to assure that all necessary permits have been received; (3) elevation of new and substantially improved residential structures above the base flood level; (4) elevation or dry floodproofing (made watertight) of new or substantially improved non-residential structures in Zones A;  (5) with limited exception, the prohibition of encroachments, including fill, new construction, substantial improvements, and other development within the adopted regulatory floodway, the central portion of a riverine floodplain needed to carry deeper and faster moving water; and (6) additional requirements to protect buildings in coastal areas from the impacts of waves, high velocity, and storm surge. These requirements have proved to be an effective way to reduce the flood risk to new buildings and infrastructure.

In addition to protecting new buildings, the NFIP has substantial improvement and substantial damage requirements that ensure flood protection measures are integrated in structures built before a community adopted its first floodplain management requirements.
 
The agency is seeking input from the public on the floodplain management standards that communities should adopt to result in safer, stronger, and more resilient communities and also to promote protection of T&E species and their habitats. Specifically, FEMA is seeking input on opportunities for the agency to improve the minimum floodplain management standards for land management and use which better align the NFIP with the current understanding of flood risk and flood risk reduction approaches. FEMA has not revised current floodplain management standards for flood-prone area regulations since they were implemented in 1976. The agency is considering revision to these regulations based on its current understanding of flood risk and flood risk reduction approaches and is now undertaking a thorough review of the floodplain management standards, along with prior published studies and reports, to determine how these standards can best meet FEMA and stakeholder needs.       
 
FEMA also plans to re-evaluate the implementation of the NFIP under the ESA at the national level to complete a revised Biological Evaluation re-examining how NFIP actions influence land development decisions; the potential for such actions to have adverse effects on T&E species and critical habitats; and to identify program changes that would prevent jeopardy to T&E species and/or destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitats as well as to promote the survival and recovery of T&E species. Public feedback will help FEMA with this process.
 
NFIP website: https://www.fema.gov/flood-insurance
FR notice requesting information: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/10/12/2021-22152/request-for-information-on-the-national-flood-insurance-programs-floodplain-management-standards-for

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