Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Update on the new Federal Executive Order & Implementing Guidelines

A few weeks ago, we had posted information about the newly signed Federal Executive Order (EO) 13690 and the draft Federal guidelines that were released along with the EO.  Since that time, FEMA has posted more information about organized public listening sessions (all are located far away from us in Vermont) and about submitting public comments on the new Federal guidelines on implementing the new EO.

These new DRAFT guidelines, titled Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS), have an open public comment period until Monday April 6, 2015.  Comments can be submitted directly online through this website.  The public comment period is specifically intended for comments on the new FFRMS; the new EO has already been finalized.  We encourage individuals or organizations to participate in this process by providing comments and feedback on the draft FFRMS implementing guidelines.  Our understanding is that they are looking for both what people like about the new guidelines and what you may have suggestions on for improvement.  The last time the guidelines on Federal procedure & policy regarding floodplains were opened up for revision and update was back in the late 1970s, so this is an opportunity that doesn't come along often!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

New Federal Executive Order on Floodplains & a Federal Flood Risk Management Strategy

On January 30th, 2015, the President released a new Federal Executive Order regarding floodplains.  This new Executive Order (EO 13690) does not replace the existing Federal Executive Order 11988 (which dates back to the Carter Administration, effective 1977), but rather supplements 11988 in areas where the federal floodplain standards were lagging behind some of the existing state floodplain review standards.  Existing EO 11988 requires federal agencies to assess floodplain impacts when a federal action is taken within a federally-mapped floodplain.  Typically, federal agencies are tasked with ensuring the federal project is in compliance with minimum NFIP standards.

ASFPM has created a specific webpage for the new Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS) that contains links to the various documents, as well as some background on the development of this new standard.  In addition, the implementation of the new EO and FFRMS has been reported about in the New York Times, as well as the Washington Post.


From the new EO 13690:

As part of a national policy on resilience and risk reduction consistent with my Climate Action Plan, the National Security Council staff coordinated an interagency effort to create a new flood risk reduction standard for federally funded projects. The views of Governors, mayors, and other stakeholders were solicited and considered as efforts were made to establish a new flood risk reduction standard for federally funded projects. The result of these efforts is the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (Standard), a flexible framework to increase resilience against flooding and help preserve the natural values of floodplains. Incorporating this Standard will ensure that agencies expand management from the current base flood level to a higher vertical elevation and corresponding horizontal floodplain to address current and future flood risk and ensure that projects funded with taxpayer dollars last as long as intended.


Key provisions of the new EO 13690 and the FFRMS, taken from FEMA's summary of the draft FFRMS Guidelines
The new federal flood risk standard requires all future federal investments in and affecting floodplains to meet the level of resilience as established by the Standard.  For example, this includes where federal funds are used to build new structures and facilities or to rebuild those that have been damaged.
The Standard specifically requires federal agencies to consider current and future risk when taxpayer dollars are used to build or rebuild floodplains.
In implementing the Standard, federal agencies will be given the flexibility to select one of three approaches for establishing the flood elevation and hazard area they use in siting, design, and construction:
  • Utilizing best-available, actionable data and methods that integrate current and future changes in flooding based on science,
  • Two or three feet of elevation, depending on the criticality of the building, above the 100-year, or 1%-annual-chance, flood elevation, or
  • 500-year, or 0.2%-annual-chance, flood elevation.

It is important to note that neither this new EO 13690 nor the existing EO 11988 change the local administration of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or any state minimum standards.


A 60-day Public Comment period is now open for the Draft Federal Flood Risk Management Standard Implementing Guidelines (FFRMS) which was also released on 1/30/2015.  Individuals are encouraged to submit comments before April 6, 2015.  Here is a link to a FEMA Frequently Asked Questions page of the Draft FFRMS.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

FEMA's Introductory Floodplain Management Class to be Offered in Old Lyme, CT March 9-13

ASFPM is co-sponsoring the FEMA Emergency Management Institute(EMI) 273 course in Old Lyme, CT with FEMA Region I, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT-DEEP), and the Connecticut Association of Flood Managers (CAFM) in March. This course is designed to provide an organized training opportunity for local officials responsible for administering their local floodplain management ordinance. The course will focus on the NFIP and concepts of floodplain management, maps and studies, ordinance administration, and the relationship between floodplain management and flood insurance.

A separate (optional) CFM exam will be held on Friday, March 13th. Course attendance is NOT required to sit for the CFM exam. Please see details below for more information.

LUNCH / REFRESHMENTS 
Lunch and break food/refreshments are available during the Monday - Thursday course for a small (optional) fee:
$25 / person AM & PM breaks, OR  
$80 / person for breaks & lunches 

COURSE REGISTRATION:  
Registration deadline: February 13, 2015. To register for the course, please follow instructions in the course flyer

Please contact Diane Ifkovic with questions about the course at diane.ifkovic@ct.gov or call 860-424-3537. 

273 Course
March 9-12, 2015
8:00AM - 5:00PM
Old Lyme, CT
12 CECs for CFMs
Cost: Course attendance is free, registration is required.
--------------------------------

CFM Exam (optional)
Friday, Mar. 13, 2015

9:00AM -12:00PM
Old Lyme, CT
Course attendance is NOT required to sit for the exam.

COST

Separate registration and fee required to sit for the CFM Exam. Exam applications and fee must be submitted to ASFPM not later than March 4, 2015 in order to sit for the exam on March 13th.
*CFM Exam is optional, separate registration and fee are required to sit for the CFM exam. NOTE: The 273 course is not a CFM Exam prep course; takers should not expect to pass the exam without additional study of materials found on the CFM Exam Preparation Guide.

Monday, January 26, 2015

New Videos for Community Leaders - Reducing Flood Damage

The Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) has released six short videos to help communities prepare for flooding.   These videos are featured on Flood Ready Vermont and compiled on the CRWC Preparing for Floods page.

The videos highlight steps that communities can take to reduce exposure to damage from flooding.

At Flood Ready Vermont the videos are posted as stories on Making It Happen and embedded in pages throughout the site.  

The productions by the Connecticut River Watershed Council strengthen a collaborative effort to build tools and support peer-to-peer communication for community leaders working on flood resilience.  CRWC was one of many organizations that participated in the design of Flood Ready Vermont.

The CRWC videos were shot and edited by Joe DeFelice of Riverbank Media, with financial support from the High Meadow Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation, and Jane's Trust.

The new videos include:
Finding the Right Mix - How the Town of Brandon is taking comprehensive steps to reduce damage from flooding.

Homeowner Buyouts and Elevating Homes - How community leaders are using FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grants to reduce residential losses.

Better Culverts and Stream Crossings - Designing and implementing better culverts improves road reliability, culvert longevity and habitat functions.

Why Rivers Move and Erode - a demonstration of how channels move over time using a stream table.  
Stabilizing Stream Banks Naturally - placing root wads to support the reestablishment of bank vegetation and reduce erosion rates.

Lakefront Erosion Solutions - ways to reduce bank erosion from foot traffic and wave action.








Monday, January 19, 2015

CFM Exam scheduled for 2/11 in Montpelier, VT

We wanted to announce that a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM) exam has been scheduled and confirmed for Wednesday, February 11th from 1pm-4pm located in Montpelier.    

What is the CFM program all about you may ask?  Here is a small excerpt from the ASFPM website about the Program:


The Association of State Floodplain Managers has established a national program for professional certification of floodplain managers. The program recognizes continuing education and professional development that enhance the knowledge and performance of local, state, federal, and private-sector floodplain managers.

The primary goal of the ASFPM Certified Floodplain Manager Program (CFM Program) is to help reduce the nation's flood losses and protect and enhance the natural resources and functions of its floodplains by improving the knowledge and abilities of floodplain managers in the United States.  A second goal of the CFM Program is to increase the prominence of floodplain management in decision-making by local officials and the public.



Additional information regarding ASFPM and the CFM program can be found at ASFPM’s website or the CFM Program page: www.floods.org,  CFM page



General Exam Information:

The exam will be held at the central Agency of Natural Resource office located at 1 National Life Drive in Montpelier.  If you are interested, you are now able to register for this exam with the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) office.  All registration forms and ASFPM membership applications should be sent to the ASFPM office in Madison, WI. 

If you become a member of ASFPM for $130, the exam registration fee will only be $100 for a total fee of $230.  If you are not a member of ASFPM, then the cost to register for the exam is $450.  
If you are planning to become an ASFPM member and register for the exam at the same time, you should send the ASFPM membership form, the exam registration form and payment for both together for the ease of processing.


Please note that all exam registrations must be received by ASFPM no later than 2 weeks before the exam date.  This means that all registration forms need to be received by the ASFPM office no later than Wednesday, January 28th.  Otherwise, if your registration has not been received by that date, you will not be able to sit for the exam.  The CFM exam registration form and the ASFPM membership form can be found here.




Review Session:
We will also be offering an all-day review session before the exam on Tuesday, February 10th.   The review session will be held in the ANR offices at the National Life Building located in Montpelier. Please contact Rebecca Pfeiffer in advance if you intend to be at the review session so that we can be sure that there will be enough room and so we can determined which date works best for those interested in the review.


If you are interested in taking the exam but would not be ready to do so for this date, please contact Rebecca  so that your name will remain on our list of people to contact when we are planning another CFM exam in 2015. 

Other CFM exams may be offered in neighboring states.  More information about the exam can be found at the ASFPM website.


Please pass along the word to whomever else you think may be interested in sitting for the exam!

Friday, January 16, 2015

New Procedure and release of Statewide River Corridor Data!

It seems a little late into January to be saying this, but Happy New Year to all.  Last month, we had 2 big releases for Vermont Floodplain and River Corridor management:

In the beginning of December, we released our new Flood Hazard Area and River Corridor Protection Procedure which was a while in the making.  This new procedure has several purposes, but the main purpose is to document how the DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) defines and maps river corridors for: the purpose of Act 250 & Section 248 proceedings, administering the state Flood Hazard Area and River Corridor Rule, and for the regulation of berming under the Stream Alteration rules.

As for the second big release, we are happy to announce the release of our Statewide River Corridor data online!  As you see in the purpose of the Procedure, VT Rivers Program has updated the methodology for mapping River Corridors. This change has come mostly because we have been working very hard over the past year and a half or so to create a statewide river corridor map that covers all Vermont streams with a drainage area of greater than 2 square miles.  At the end of last year, the first Statewide River Corridor map was released to the public for use and can be accessed on the VT ANR Natural Resource Atlas or at the Flood Ready Atlas.  At this time, the statewide map is an approximate river corridor map but we will be working to incorporate the many miles of field assessed data that has been collected throughout the state over the past many years.  Please refer to the River Corridors - Frequently Asked Questions page, as some of your question may be addressed there.

Something else that is new and on the horizon is the implementation of our Flood Hazard Area and River Corridor Rule.  The Rule was adopted this past fall and will go into effect on March 1, 2015.  We will be posting more information in the coming weeks about this roll out.  If you read the rule and our new procedure, you will see that the Procedure contains the background and technical information that support the new rule.

Please be aware that our new rule will apply only to development that is exempt from local municipal permitting, specifically:

  • State owned and operated facilities and properties;
  • farms and silvicultural properties that operate under the Accepted Agricultural Practices (AAPs) or Accepted Management Practices (AMPs which apply to protecting water quality on logging jobs); and
  • power-generating facilities or transmission facilities subject to Section 248 jurisdiction 
A public notice to announce the draft General Permit for the FHARC Rule is anticipated in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Southern Vermont Floodplain Manager Position: Application due 12/4/2014

Hello all,

We wanted to announce that our Southern Vermont Floodplain Manager position is out-for-hire at this time.  Please note that the on-line application deadline closes 12/4/2014. If you would like more information about this position, please contact Rob Evans at rob.evans@state.vt.us

Environmental Analyst IV AC: General
616053
Rutland
Full-Time
N/A
Classified
21.550000
11/18/2014
23
660401
12/04/2014
Environmental Conservation

General Information 

This position, (Environmental Analyst IV, Job Opening # 616053), is open to all State employees and external applicants.

Resumes will not be accepted via e-mail.  You must apply online to be considered. http://humanresources.vermont.gov/careers
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Overview 
This position is within the River Corridor and Floodplain Protection section of the Vermont Rivers Program. The Regional Floodplain Manager will provide regulatory support and technical assistance to individuals, municipalities, consultants, and agencies of state and federal government regarding development proposals in river corridors and floodplains in southern Vermont. The position supports multiple regulatory jurisdictions including the State Flood Hazard Area and River Corridor Rule, municipal land use permitting, and Act 250. The position requires working both independently and collaboratively to evaluate development proposals for regulatory compliance and recommend alternative courses of action to minimize conflicts between river/floodplain dynamics and human investments. This position requires strong written and verbal communication skills, and must work well with the public and include education in each interaction.

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Preferred Qualifications 
Preference will be given to candidates with a strong combination of the following: working knowledge of the National Flood Insurance Program; experience reviewing and analyzing site plans, grading plans, and related engineering and surveying schematics; knowledge of riverine hydrology/hydraulics and fluvial geomorphology.

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 Minimum Qualifications 
 EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE:

Education: Bachelor's degree in a biological-life or physical science, engineering, or an environmental or natural resources field.

Experience: Four years at a professional level in an environmental or natural resources field.

OR

Two years as an Environmental Analyst III.

NOTE: Graduate Degree in an environmental or natural resources field may be substituted for up to two years of experience on a semester for six months basis.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS:

n/a

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 Submission of Application 
 Should you submit an application for this job opening, you certify that all information entered is correct and complete to the best of your knowledge.  By submitting an application, you acknowledge and understand that the State of Vermont may verify information, and that untruthful or misleading answers are cause for rejection of this application, and/or dismissal if employed with the State of Vermont.

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 Equal Employment Opportunity 

 The State of Vermont is an Equal Opportunity Employer.  Applications from women, individuals with disabilities, veterans, and people from diverse cultural backgrounds are encouraged.