Floods & Natural HazardsASWM has been involved with the discussion on wetlands in the context of floodplains, flooding events and other natural hazards for over 20 years. ASWM recently published its draft report, "Assessing the Natural & Beneficial Functions of Floodplains" here. In addition to the resources published here, please also visit the Association of State Floodplain Managers, a long-time partner and "sister" organization of ASWM's.

For floods and natural hazard resources and publications, click here

By Elisha Anderson and Megha Satyanarayana – Detroit Free Press – April 22, 2013

Instead of spending the afternoon enjoying a Sunday dinner with family, Grand Rapids residents were busy preparing for continued flooding as they braced for the cresting of the Grand River sometime early this morning. The National Weather Service said the river was 5.6 feet above flood stage Sunday morning at Comstock Park in Kent County’s Plainfield Township, just north of Grand Rapids. For full story, click here.

ASFPM – www.floods.org – January 2013

The Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) has posted a paper, “Flood Risk in the Courts: Reducing Government Liability While Encouraging Government Responsibility” by Jon Kusler, Esq., with Editor & Collaborator: Sam Riley Medlock, J.D., CFM, on its website. From the preface: This paper is one of several prepared by the author for the Association of State Floodplain Managers dealing with legal issues in floodplain management. This paper has been prepared to help governments administratively and/or legislatively reduce liability for flood losses and better meet “taking” challenges to regulations while maintaining government responsibility in addressing flood problems. It addresses a series of questions: Why is flood-related liability a concern of governments? What governmental units are most susceptible to suits? Are government staff personally liable? Is government liability consistent with sound public policy? How does degree of flood risk affect liability based upon common law legal theories? Constitutional theories? What measures can governments take to reduce successful suits based upon common law or Constitutional legal theories while, simultaneously, acting responsibly? To read the full paper in PDF, click here.

ASFPM – December 13, 2012

The Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) released a paper, developed by their leadership, outlining 23 suggested actions that communities, property owners, states, and the federal policy and funding decision makers can take to support a more resilient recovery and rebuilding following Hurricane Sandy. These actions would lead to less damage and suffering in future events, resulting in more resilient communities and reduced federal taxpayer costs. We must rebuild in a way that will reduce vulnerability to flooding, hurricanes, and other large storms in the future in order to avoid the human suffering and economic disruption that follows. We know that large events like Hurricane Sandy and Irene WILL happen again.

NOAA Digital Coast

Being able to visualize potential impacts from sea level rise is a powerful teaching and planning tool, and the Sea Level Rise Viewer brings this capability to coastal communities. A slider bar is used to show how various levels of sea level rise will impact coastal communities. Completed areas include Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, Florida, and Georgia, with additional coastal counties to be added in the near future. Visuals and the accompanying data and information cover sea level rise inundation, uncertainty, flood frequency, marsh impacts, and socioeconomics. For more information, click here.

Trout Headwaters – September 21, 2012 – Video

The Connecticut River Watershed Council and the Conservation Law Foundation have joined together to look at why Otter Creek in Rutland leapt up as Irene Struck, increasing in flow by nearly 20 times in the space of a little more than a day, while downstream in Middlebury the river rose much more gradually, and more safely. The film narrated by Gov. Howard Dean explores the importance of healthy floodplains and wetland complexes in reducing flood water damage. For full article, click here.

National Conference of State Legislatures – August 2012

Why should policymakers care about restoring and protecting floodplains? This is a difficult question for many state legislators because the emphasis in floodplain management usually has been on protecting property owners from potential flood damage through structural projects that keep water out, rather than on limiting development in floodplains and preserving the environmental and property protection values that floodplains possess. There are two policy sides to the issue—hazard management and protection of natural, beneficial functions. For full policy brief, click here.

By Tom Porter Environment Maine Research & Policy Center July 31, 2012

If you think the weather in Maine in recent years has been getting worse, with more heavy downpours and snowstorms, you may well be right. A new report by the advocacy group Environment Maine analyzes meteorological data going back to 1948. Since that year, the study finds that extreme events like rain and snowstorms are becoming more common and more intense. For full story, click here. To view report, When it Rains, it Pours: Global Warming and the Increase in Extreme Precipitation from 1948-2011report, click here.  For a national storms map by Environment America, click here.