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  • - FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY FEMA 100/March 1986

    A UnifiedNational Programfor FloodplainManagement :

  • The Interagency Floodplain ManagementTask Force was established in 1975 to carryout the responsibility of the President toprepare for the Congress a Unified NationalProgram for Floodplain Management. Since1982 the Task Force has been chaired by theFederal Emergency Management Agency.Membership of the Task Force consists ofthe Departments of Agriculture, Army,Commerce, Energy, Housing and UrbanDevelopment, Interior, Transportation; theEnvironmental Protection Agency; and theTennessee Valley Authority.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agencyis located at600 C Street, NWWashington, D.C., 20472

  • FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY

    National Program

    March !986i

    Federal Emergency Management Agency

    Interagency Task Force onFloodplain Management

  • Federal Emergency Management AgencyWashington, D.C. 20472

    WM I 7 1986

    Dear Mr. President:

    In response to Section 1302(c) of the National Flood InsuranceAct of 1968 (P. L. 90-448), I am pleased to commend to you fortransmission to the Congress the report "A Unified NationalProgram for Floodplain Management." This report updates a1979 report of the same title concurred in by the eight cabinetlevel agencies constituting the Water Resources Council andforwarded to the Congress. The report sets forth a conceptualframework and identifies strategies fundamental to implementinga balanced approach to floodplain management. It appraises theimplementation of current programs and recommends Federal andState and local actions needed to achieve a unified program ofplanning and action at all levels of government to reduce floodlosses and losses of floodplain natural values. The revisedreport has been prepared by the Interagency Task Force onFloodplain Management, concurred in by member agencies, and hasbenefited from the advice and suggestions of recognized authoritiesin the field of floodplain management.

    Respectfully,

    Jlus W. Bec on Jr.Director

    The PresidentThe White HouseWashington, D.C. 20500

    Enclosures

    i

  • FOREWORD

    During the past two decades, recognition of unacceptablyhigh losses of lives, property and natural values in theNation's floodplains has led all levels of government toprovide new and more effective floodplain managementtools through legislative and administrative program ini-tiatives. Risk assessment programs generally are completinginitial hazard identification activities and are movingtoward an information maintenance phase. Loss reductionprograms are proceding more slowly because many of thenew tools require a period of assimilation by all affectedparties before their full potential can be realized.Also, these tools generally have not been articulatedwithin an overall coordinated loss reduction effort.Thus, the current status of floodplain management indicatesa need for the improvement and more effective applicationof existing tools and little need for new legislation.

    This report recognizes the goals of floodplain managementto be wise use, conservation and development of theinterrelated lands and waters of the Nation's floodplainssubject to the constraint of reducing loss exposure to anacceptable level, It offers a conceptual framework toguide local, State, and Federal decisionmakers toward abalanced consideration of alternative goals, loss reduc-tion strategies and tools. It provides recommendationsfor each level of government to improve and coordinatefloodplain management. It should lead to better decisionsaffecting the use of our Nation's floodplains, reducedlosses of life, property and natural values, and a reducedburden upon governments to compensate for losses causedby unwise decisions of individual citizens as well asgovernments.

    This report asserts that a unified national program onlycan be achieved through a partnership among all levels ofgovernment wherein each carries out its responsibilitiesunder the Federal and State constitutions. The re-commendations in this report are directed at each levelof government with the intent of moving the Nation towarda more effective Unified Program. I urge all who makedecisions affecting floodplains to pursue implementationof these recommendations in the spirit of partnership aswe continue to progress toward achieving a unified approachto floodplain management.

    effrey S. Bragg, AdministratorFederal Insurance Administration

    ii

  • PREFACE

    Section 1302(C) of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968(Public Law 90-448, 82 Stat. 476) stipulated that "theobjectives of a flood insurance program should be integrallyrelated to a unified national program for floodplain managementand... the President should submit to the Congress for itsconsideration any further proposals necessary for such aunified program..." Responsibility for the development ofthe Unified National Program was first assigned by the Officeof Management and Budget to the Water Resources Council whichin 1976 adopted and in 1979 revised the report "A UnifiedNational Program for Floodplain Management." In 1982 thisresponsibility was reassigned to the Federal EmergencyManagement Agency. The 1979 report became dated by therelative success and changes in Federal programs and by thestrengthening of floodplain management capability at theState and local government levels. The status of Federal,State and local floodplain management activity as of mid-1985is reflected in the following revised report and in itsfindings and recommendations. Like its predecessors, therevised report does not seek to provide specific guidance formeeting Federal program requirements.

    This report seeks wise decisions and management for theNation's floodplains to reduce losses of life and propertyfrom flooding and losses of natural and beneficial floodplainvalues from unwise land use. A conceptual framework is setforth to provide general guidance for the decisionmakingprocesses of Federal, State, and local officials as well asfor private parties. The strategies and tools for flood lossmitigation and for the preservation and restoration of naturalfloodplain values are presented in detail, Actions arerecommended to facilitate the coordination of managementprograms dispersed among all levels of governments.

    For their contributions to this report, we are indebted tothe many public officials, private consultants, and agencystaff members whose conscientious and dedicated efforts wereresponsible for the 1976 report and to the members of theFederal Interagency Floodplain Management Task Force underwhose auspices the 1979 revision was prepared, A specialrecognition is due to the members of the drafting team listedbelow who carried the primary burden of preparing this revision,

    iii

  • Members of the 1985 drafting team:

    Gordon Leish, Department of InteriorRoss MacKay, Federal Emergency Management AgencyBen Mieremet, Department of CommerceRobert Plott, Department of ArmyClive Walker, Department of AgricultureJames Wright, Tennessee Valley AuthoritySylvia Gause, Task Force Secretary,

    Federal Emergency Management AgencyFrank H. Thomas, Federal Emergency Management Agency

    Members of the 1979 drafting team:

    Richard Leisher, Department of AgricultureDale Manty, Environmental Protection AgencyTerry Martin, Department of the InteriorTimothy Maywalt, Department of Housing and Urban DevelopmentMarjorie McGlone, Task Force Secretary, Water Resources CouncilGeorge Phippen, Department of the Army, Corps of EngineeresFrank Thomas, Task Force Leader, Water Resources CouncilHerbert Thompson, Department of CommercePhilip Thompson, Department of TransportationJames Wright, Tennessee Valley Authority

    4 2Lrp/t"Frank H. ThomasChairman, Federal InteragencyTask Force on Floodplain Management

    iv

  • CONTENTS

    Paq

    LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL TO THE PRESIDENT .............. i

    FOREWORD ee,.e.,Deexo,,,.e~o..eoooooeooocooo ii

    PREFACE .,..,e,.. ...,,e..e .,eoeoooe iii

    CHAPTER I -- DIGEST AND RECOMMENDATIONS ............. I-

    A. Digest ...... 00..e.....ee..oo....o.e....... I 1

    B. Federal Level Recommendations *. ............ o... I-3

    C. State Level Recommendations ....o.....o.......... I-8

    D. Local Level Recommendations .... ................. I-10

    E. Conclusion .... ...... ooeooeoo.oe 111

    CHAPTER II -- BACKGROUND AND SETTING ................ II-1

    CHAPTER III -- CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK FORFLOODPLAIN MANAGEMENT .............. III-1

    A. General Principles ... ....................................... III-1B. Working Principles .III-3

    1. Definitions ... G...,*..*oo...*,0*ooe * III-32. General Statements ... .... .................. III-4

    CHAPTER IV -- STRATEGIES AND TOOLS FOR ACHIEVINGFLOOD LOSS REDUCTION ......... o..... IV-1

    A. Modify Susceptibility to Flood Damageand Disruption .o ................. o.. IV-2

    1. Floodplain Regulations ........ .... IV-3

    v

  • Page

    a. State Regulations for FloodHazard Areas ****.... ***.*.. *.e... IV-4

    b. Local Regulations for FloodHazard Areas ***..................9. IV-4

    (1) Zoning ........................ IV-4(2) Subdivision Regulations ....... IV-5(3) Building Codes ................ IV-6(4) Housing Codes ................. IV-6(5) Sanitary and Well Codes .......: IV-6(6) Other Regulatory Tools ........ IV-6

    2. Development and Redevelopment Policies ...... IV-7

    a. Design and Location of Servicesand Utilities ..... .............. . .... . IV-7

    b. Land Rights Acquisition andOpen Space Use *99**99...9............ IV-7

    c. Redevelopment .... .... ...... IV-8d. Permanent Evacuation .................... IV-8

    3. Disaster Preparedness ....................... IV-84. Disaster Assistance .... ....

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