Monday, November 16, 2015

IJC invites public comment on draft flood forecasting and mapping report for Lake Champlain and Richelieu River and previews flood inundation maps

The International Joint Commission (IJC) is requesting comments from the public on a draft report to enhance flood preparedness and warnings for Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River by December 10, 2015.  Specifically the IJC asks if the report’s recommendations are sound and whether the recommendations address real needs for enhanced flood preparedness and warnings for Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River.  The Commission is also inviting the public to preview the associated flood inundation maps.

Following the submission of IJC’s  July 2013 Plan of Study “The Identification of Measures to Mitigate Flooding and the Impacts of Flooding of Lake Champlain and Richelieu River” (POS), the governments of the United States and Canada asked the IJC to address two issues associated with the system wide flooding in 2011:
a. closing the gaps in the data needed for a future real-time flood forecasting and inundation mapping system, and
b. the creation of static flood inundation map products.

The IJC appointed the International Lake Champlain-Richelieu River Technical Working Group (TWG) comprised of technical experts from United States, Canada, Quebec, Vermont, and New York to address the two issues. The IJC is now inviting public comment on the TWG’s draft report Toward an operational real-time flood forecasting and flood inundation mapping system for the Lake Champlain and Richelieu River.

The TWG report includes six recommendations addressing the need to:

1. Implement an operational probabilistic approach for forecasting floods, including modelling of wind set up and wave action;  
2. Keep the Henry and Grand Isle water level station to maintain water level calibration and also install wave buoys to assist in wave model calibration;
3. Institute a binational coordination body such as an IJC Board to support agencies involved in real time forecasting;
4. Acquire new bathymetric data for the Richelieu River between Sorel and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu;
5. Create a single consistent Digital Elevation Model (DEM) for the entire Lake Champlain-Richelieu River basin following the completion and quality control of LiDAR and bathymetric data acquisition; and
6. Generate static flood inundation maps for the entire Lake Champlain Richelieu River system.

The current effort has significantly advanced the creation of flood-inundation maps for the Lake Champlain-Richelieu River system. These maps provide an emergency planning tool for authorities and the general public on land that may flood during high water events. Static inundation maps were created for the Vermont side of Lake Champlain and a portion of the New York northeastern shoreline on the US side, and for the Richelieu River from the border to downstream of the Fryers Rapids on the Canadian side. A preview of these maps is available on the IJC web site at: , however, the site is under construction and the text accompanying the maps is in French only at this time. A complete LiDAR Digital Elevation Model available in Canada also allowed for the representation of inundation depths for the 11 flood scenarios.  The inundation maps are not designed for regulatory purposes, but rather to show flooding potential under different conditions.  Furthermore the report does not evaluate potential flood mitigation measures as this was outside of the scope of the reference from governments.

This public comment period is being held from November 16 to December 10, at which time the IJC will consider public comments before submitting its final report to governments.


Nick Heisler  (English)  Ottawa 613-992-8367

Sarah Lobrichon (French)      Ottawa 613-992-5368

Frank Bevacqua Washington 202-736-9024

Sarah Lobrichon
Policy and Communications Analyst | Analyste des politiques et des communications
International Joint Commission | Commission mixte internationale
234 Laurier Ave. West, 22nd Floor, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1P 6K6
234, avenue Laurier Ouest, 22e étage, Ottawa (Ontario), Canada K1P 6K6
Telephone | Téléphone 613-992-5368 / Facsimile | Télécopieur 613-993-5583

Imagine two countries sharing hundreds of lakes and rivers along their border without conflict
Imaginez deux pays qui partagent des centaines de lacs et de rivières le long de la frontière sans conflit

Friday, September 18, 2015

No Adverse Impact Lunch & Learn Webinar 10/7/2015

Reposting here for those who may be interested in participating.  Boulder, Colorado had been greatly impacted by riverine erosion flooding in 2013 and they face somewhat similar flooding hazards to parts of Vermont.  As a result of the 2013 flooding, the Colorado Legislature passed a bill that creates a riverine erosion hazard mapping program to plan around flood-related erosion hazards.

-VT Floodplain Management  

Dear Floodplain Officials & NAI Committee Members,

The Georgia Association of Floodplain Managers (GAFM), No Adverse Impact (NAI) Committee, in conjunction with the ASFPM NAI Committee, is pleased to announce our next Webinar:
Topic: The 90 Mile Road To Recovery - Boulder County’s Flood Recovery Journey
Host: Michael Baker International, Inc.
Presenter: Kevin Doyle, P.E., Michael Baker International
Date and Time: Wednesday October 7, 2015 12:00pm-1:00 pm, EDT
Event Password: event1

**ASFPM has approved this webinar for (1) Continuing Education Credit (CEC).  Note that if you are a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM), please indicate that on the registration page title block (i.e., Your Name, CFM)**

  1. Introductions and Roll Call (5 min)
  2. Webinar - Presentation (40 min)
  3. Question and Answer (10 min)
  4. Closing - Future Topics/Presenters (5 min)
**Note you must register in advance to participate and to receive CFM credit.**

Please click on the link below and follow the instructions to register for the webinar:
  1. Go to
  2. Click "Register"
  3. On the registration form, please enter your information in the title block and then click "Submit"
Once registered you will receive a confirmation email with the call-in number and web link to participate in the webinar. Registered participants will also receive a copy of the presentation via email the day of the event.

Thank you and we look forward to your participation. 

Sean Roche, PE, CFM
GAFM NAI Committee Chairman

ASFPM NAI Committee Education & Outreach Liaison

Thursday, August 13, 2015

September 1 and 2 Bennington County - Flood Insurance Meetings

The Bennington County maps showing high risk flood hazard areas will officially change on December 2. Two open house events are scheduled for people that want to learn more about flood risk, flood insurance and the effect of the map update.  

Is your house or business in a hazard area?   This is a particularly important question for buildings that are identified as at a high risk on the December map but not at high risk on the older map.

FEMA Flood Information Open House Events are scheduled for:
• Tuesday September 1, 4-6:30 pm Manchester at the Spiral Press Café, 15 Bonnet Street, and
• Wednesday September 2, 4 -7 pm Bennington at the Bennington Free Library, 101 Silver Street

At these events Bennington county residents can meet one-on-one with Federal and State officials to identify if their building is in a Special Flood Hazard Area.   FEMA insurance specialists will be on hand to discuss flood insurance requirements and opportunities to make your building safer and less costly to insure.

Getting insurance now, before the map change to “grandfather the old zone” may be an important opportunity in situations where the older maps show a building to be outside the Special Flood Hazard Area and the new map shows it in.

The new December 2015 flood maps can be viewed on the Flood Ready Atlas: .   Use Flood Ready Tools to “Find Address” and “Toggle Flood Data On”.  

The older maps can be viewed on FEMA’s Map Service Center .

These open house events for flood resiliency are provided to help residents understand flood risks as shown on the new Bennington County Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map and to take steps to reduce the risk of flood damage to families, buildings and communities.

Live in Bennington County? Check the New Flood Map! (6/9/15)

Monday, August 10, 2015

9/24 Demystifying Floodplain Maps: Real Estate Course

Demystifying FEMA and Floodplain Maps and Vermont’s Use Value Appraisal Program
 4 Continuing Education Credits, $75, Rutland

Demystifying FEMA and Floodplain Maps
Learn about the ins and outs of flood hazard and river corridor maps with Ned Swanberg from the VT Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Rivers Program. Ned will demonstrate how to access and interpret map data, understand NFIP insurance requirements, municipal and state regulations, flood mitigation opportunities for buildings and strategies to help communities reduce losses from flooding and channel erosion.

Vermont’s Use Value Appraisal Program
In order to encourage the use of land for agricultural production or forest management, the state of Vermont adopted policy that allows farmers and foresters to enroll their land in the Current Use program in 1978. The land is then taxed at the use value rather than the fair market value – so the land is appraised at what it is used for, rather than what it could be sold for at the highest market value. Now about 1/3 of Vermont’s total land area is enrolled in Current Use. Because the program helps many of Vermont’s farms stay in business and resist the financial lure of selling land into development, Rural Vermont has defended and helped strengthen Current Use throughout its existence. This course will provide Real Estate professionals with the information they need to share options regarding land with current use eligibility as well as the responsibilities, potential penalties, and the many benefits of Current Use enrollment to property buyers and sellers.

  • When: Thursday, September 24, 2015
  • Time: 8:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
  • Where: College of St. Joseph at 71 Clement Road, Rutland, VT (St. Joseph Hall Room 105) 

The Rutland Natural Resources Conservation District and Lake Champlain Sea Grant Program are offering 4 credits of Continuing Education approved by the VT Real Estate Commission - Demystifying FEMA and Floodplain Maps and (2 hours) and Vermont’s Use Value Appraisal Program (2 hours).

Fee is $75.00 per person. Fee includes coffee, bagels, pastries, juice and credits
*Note: Courses with fewer than 10 pre-registered attendees may be postponed or cancelled

For more information, contact Nanci McGuire at 802-775-8034 x.117 or

Registration Form

Demystifying FEMA and Floodplain Maps and Vermont’s Use Value Appraisal Program
Continuing Education Course June 5, 2015 at College of St. Joseph (St. Joseph Hall Room 105) 71 Clement Rd., Rutland, VT

Pre-registration required by September 11, 2015. Payment is required at time of registration.

If more than one person is attending from the same office, please register separately






Amount Enclosed: ($75.00 per person)

PLEASE make checks payable to RNRCD and mail checks and registration to RNRCD, 170 South Main St., Suite 4, Rutland, VT 05701.

Monday, July 20, 2015

FEMA 4-day Course: Introductory Floodplain Management Class to be Offered in Portsmouth, NH 9/28-10/1/2015

ASFPM is co-sponsoring the FEMA Emergency Management Institute (EMI) 273 course in Portsmouth, NH with FEMA Region I and the New Hampshire Office of Energy & Planning in September. 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, October 2nd. Course attendance is NOT required to sit for the CFM exam. Please see details below for more information.

COST: Course attendance is FREE, but registration is required. Attendees are responsible for their own travel, lodging, and meal expenses.   

Registration deadline: September 1, 2015. To register for the course, please follow instructions in the course flyer.

Please contact Jennifer Gilbert at 603-271-1762 or

CFM Exam* (optional)
October 2, 2015, 9:00AM - 12:00PM
Portsmouth, NH

Separate registration and fee required to sit for the CFM Exam. Exam applications and fee must be submitted to ASFPM not later than September 23, 2015 in order to sit for the exam on October 2, 2015.
*CFM exam is optional, and a 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 at the CFM Exam Preparation Guide.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Interactive Flood Inundation Mapper Released for Waterbury

The USGS Flood Inundation Mapper now includes data for Waterbury Village, Vermont.   This web-based map tool allows you to see the extent of upcoming flooding based on flood predictions from the National Weather Service.

This is the first demonstration of the USGS Flood Inundation Mapper in Vermont and it will be particularly helpful in emergency situations.  The National Weather Service already has a NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service page for Waterbury that predicts how high the river will get (stage) and describes where the water will spread.  The new USGS Flood Inundation Mapper will work together with the NWS page to visually illustrate the buildings, roads and services that will be affected during specific flood events.

Zoom to Waterbury, Vermont and click on the triangle.

USGS has also released an updated study of flood hazards in Waterbury.  This new study uses fresh information about river flows and improved landscape information covering the area north of Main Street.   The FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map in effect now used flood information up through 1998.

Flood maps for the Winooski River in Waterbury, Vermont, Scott Olson 2014: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2015–5077.  

On the Waterbury Flood Inundation Mapper – the extent of flooding at the 429 foot stage just exceeds the USGS calculation for the extent of the one percent annual chance flood.

In April 2015 Waterbury also received an independent study commissioned by the Lake Champlain Basin Program:

Evaluating the Costs and Benefits of Floodplain Protection Activities in Waterbury, Vermont and Willsboro, New York, Lake Champlain Basin, U.S.A.R. Schiff, S. Bighinatti, E. Fitzgerald, N. Wahlund, D. Carlton, A. Church, J. Louisos, and B. Cote, Milone and MacBroom, Inc.; Fitzgerald Environmental Associates; Earth Economics, and DK Carlton and Associates. April 2015.

One page summary: Floodplain Management Economics Fact Sheet, Waterbury, Vermont.

This Lake Champlain Basin Program study looked at mapped flood hazards as well as trends affecting future flooding.  This thorough study was particularly attentive to the costs and benefits for communities like Waterbury to plan and create an affordable flood resilient future.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

New Technical Support Hotline for Flood Insurance Claims

Technical Support Hotline 

National Flood Insurance Program policyholders, who have questions about their flood insurance policy or the claims process, and disaster survivors, who have general questions about the National Flood Insurance Program, can contact the Technical Support Hotline / Call Center by:

When calling, please have the following information available:

  • Contact information (name, telephone number or email address, if applicable)
  • Policy number
  • Name of flood insurance carrier
  • The nature of your request

This information will help the representative answer your questions quickly and efficiently.
Please see our fact sheet for more information about this technical support hotline.

Two other NFIP sites that may be helpful to you:
consumer information about flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program; and

FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) 

providing map specialists to support inquiries on how to find and read flood maps, preliminary flood hazard data, Letters of Map Change, Elevation Certificates, and the National Flood Hazard Layer.

Contact a Map Specialist: