Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Is Your Community Flood Ready?

How will post-disaster funding for communities change in October?  
What does your community need to do?  
Is you community planning in order to avoid flood damage?

Visit the new Flood Ready Vermont website www.floodready.vermont.gov to find out.  

Flood Ready Vermont has the tools and data your community needs to:

Use the Flood Ready Atlas to help you identify what is working to keep your community flood resilient and where structures are at risk.  Community Reports quickly compile useful information for your municipal and hazard mitigation plans.  

Flood Ready Vermont www.floodready.vermont.gov is a place where community leaders can share information and ideas to make our communities more flood resilient.  

Funding for the design of the website was provided by the High Meadows Fund, promoting vibrant communities and a healthy natural environment while encouraging long term economic vitality in Vermont; and through a Federal Emergency Management Agency Hazard Mitigation Grant.

Early partners to inspire and help launch the site include the Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) and the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), as ably represented by David Deen, Upper Valley River Steward for CRWC; Angela Mrozinski, Outreach Director for CRWC; Ron Rhodes, North Country River Steward for CRWC; and Anthony Iarrapino, Senior Attorney for CLF.

The website development and design team was led by Daniel Shearer, Tamarack Media Cooperative, and Beka Mandell, Webskillet Cooperative.

Let us know what you think and tell your story about working for flood resilience!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

EPA is looking for feedback on Clean Water Act jurisdiction

Some readers may have heard a little bit about the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) creating a rule having to do with the Clean Water Act.  A few years ago, a US Supreme Court Decision made it clear that the EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) needed to clarify which streams and wetlands were under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.  The result has been a scientific literature review and a proposed rule.  With the proposed rule, not much has actually changed in what is regulated and how.  A lot of the rule is focused on clarifying that tributaries to major, navigable rivers are protected and that wetlands which are connected to downstream waters are also covered by the Clean Water Act.

Part of the update was also for EPA to expand the exemptions for agricultural production.  These exemptions are in addition the those that are already established.  There have been questions about what type of agricultural activities are going to be regulated, so the EPA has compiled facts about the proposed rule and the agricultural exemptions.  In some groups, there are concerns that too many farming activities are going to be exempted, while there has been quite a push-back from others about the new rule with the misconception that more agricultural activities are going to be regulated.  The EPA's sites are trying to clarify just what would and would not be under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

New Flood Map for Richmond Goes Into Effect Aug. 4 Last Chance to Grandfather Flood Zone

An updated flood map will become effective in the Town of Richmond on August 4, 2014. Flood Insurance Rate Maps are produced by FEMA to identify flood hazard risks for the National Flood Insurance Program.  The current and future flood hazard maps are viewable at the Richmond Town Center Building.  The current map is also online at the FEMA map service center www.msc.fema.gov .  To view the new maps (upcoming Preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM)) please visit the Vermont Flood Ready Atlas at tinyurl.com/floodreadyatlas

Owners of buildings in Richmond should be aware of the flood risks shown on the new map.  Over one hundred buildings currently identified as in low risk locations will be reclassified as being in high risk locations when the new map goes into effect. If a building is currently identified as in a low risk location, and later will be in a high risk location, a special low cost insurance opportunity is available to those who obtain flood insurance immediately before the map change.

The Town of Richmond has worked with Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission to help identify buildings in or near the area of map change.  Please remember that the official version of the current map (July 5, 1982) is actually the paper (or .pdf) version of the map.  Contact the Richmond Town Planner at 434-2430 or townplanner@gmavt.net for more information.

Buildings identified as going from low risk to high risk during the map change are eligible to obtain flood insurance now at the lowest rate.  If the policy with the grandfathered rate zone is maintained it can be passed on to future owners. Structures in the area of map change that do not have an active policy (check deposited) by the time the new designation goes into effect will have access to a Preferred Risk Policy (PRP) in the first year, then rates will gradually increase to the full costs for a property considered high risk. Please note that the policy must be paid, processed and fully in effect before August 4th to qualify for lower rates. To get flood insurance or more information on grandfathering contact the agent that provides your homeowner’s insurance or find an agent using www.FloodSmart.gov

Flood insurance is rated for the highest risk area that any part of the building touches.   Any mortgage or loan to a building in the Special Flood Hazard Area must have insurance for the flood risk. In Richmond, most of the structures in the Special Flood Hazard Area as identified on the new map do not have flood insurance and would benefit by immediately securing insurance.

The Town of Richmond has reached out to people in the area of change to inform them of their need to get insurance.  Affected residents who wish to obtain grandfathered status and rates should not delay. Flood insurance must be paid, processed and in effect by August 4th in order to achieve grandfathered status.