[20172016 - 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011]

Floodplain Policies for Flood Survivors - A Conversation

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 - 3:00 p.m. ET



  • Harriet Festing, Executive Director of Anthropocene Alliance and Director of Flood Forum [POWERPOINT PRESENTATION]


  • Sarah Wilkins, Thriving Earth Exchange, American Geophysical Union
  • Virginia Wasserberg, Stop the Flooding NOW!, Virginia Beach, VA 
  • Bob Jennings, Stop the Flooding Now, Virginia Beach, VA
  • Lori Burns, RainReady Chatham, Chicago, IL
  • Gabriella Velardi-Ward, Coalition for Wetlands and Forests, Staten Island, NY
  • Ed Browne, Residents Against Flooding, Houston, TX


Recent research indicates that by 2050 more than 60 million may be vulnerable to “1-in-100-year” floods. Flood Forum USA is building a national, grassroots movement of communities affected by flooding. We are currently working with 25 flood advocacy group leaders from a dozen states, representing approximately 25,000 residents. Through our partnership with the American Geophysical Union, we have matched many of the groups with expert scientists from academia and federal agencies who are now working alongside them.

This webinar convenes flood group leaders to prompt a discussion on the state and national policies that flood survivors should be advocating for.


Harriet Festing is Executive Director of Anthropocene Alliance (Aa), and Director of Aa’s first initiative, Flood Forum USA. As a British environmentalist, her experience stretches across diverse fields - water, energy, agriculture, housing - within government, non-profits and academic sectors in the US and UK. Harriet will be joined on the webinar by Flood Forum leaders from across the U.S. Please see the interactive map for a list of the forums, and Our Stories for profiles of some of the group leaders.

Sarah Wilkins
is a Project Manager for AGU’s Thriving Earth Exchange. Prior to joining AGU, Sarah worked as the Coordinator of the Chesapeake Bay Sentinel Site Cooperative for Maryland Sea Grant Extension. There, she directed and led a network of scientists and managers working to integrate science from local observations across the Chesapeake Bay to improve planning and management decisions regarding sea level rise and coastal ecological changes. She has a Master of Science in Conservation Biology & Sustainable Development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Vermont in Environmental Science.   

Virginia Wasserberg is a member of the Princess Anne Plaza Civic League Flood Committee and the Leader of Stop the Flooding NOW in Virginia Beach, VA. Virginia is a music major and homeschooling mother of two. In October of 2016 she and her husband, experienced a combined 18 inches of stormwater and sewage back-up due to heavy rains from two tropical storms and Hurricane Matthew. Virginia’s entire neighborhood was flooded and many homes were severely damaged. It took 3 months of restoration before Virginia and her family could move back into their Virginia Beach home. Shortly after these events, Virginia became involved with her local Civic League, seeking solutions to the persistent flooding. After meeting with Virginia Beach City staff, Virginia was motivated to create a Facebook community page, Stop the Flooding NOW in an effort to connect residents with flooding on a more personal level. The page gained momentum in the following months and has become an important communication resource for many residents of Virginia Beach.

Bob Jennings is Chairman of the Flood Committee, Princess Anne Plaza, Civic League Community Civic Organizer

Lori Burns has 25 years experience promoting the growth of the natural and organic products industry for professional and volunteer organizations.  A Chicago native, her contributions to social, environmental and political activism are driven by a commitment to compassion and equality. She is involved in the flood advocacy group, RainReady Chatham in Chicago, and is on the Board of Directors of Anthropocene Alliance.

Gabriella Velardi-Ward worked for the New York City (NYC) Department of Parks and Recreation for 23 years as an architectural designer and construction supervisor.  As a designer she represented the NYC Parks Department at the Mayor's Office of Construction for Sustainable Construction formulating policy requirements of sustainability for large construction projects. Currently, she called together SI environmental groups, civic associations, condo associations and people who care, forming the Coalition for Wetlands and Forests in order to prevent the destruction of the Graniteville Swamp aka the Graniteville Wetlands and Forests. 

Ed Browne is the Chair of Residents Against Flooding (RAF), founded in 2009 after an unnamed thunderstorm flooded 500 area homes that we had warned would flood due to inadequate detention and drainage. Because Memorial City Tax Increment Redevelopment Zone 17, our commercial neighbor, is allowed to redirect the zone’s tax increment back into improvement and beautification projects, it’s redevelopment on steroids. As such, the causal nature of increased concrete and elevation without sufficient compensating mitigation is very clear. For the last 9 years RAF has been educating Houstonians why man-made flooding is endemic to Houston. 

 Wetlands by Design: A watershed approach for Wisconsin 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. EST




Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and The Nature Conservancy created a decision support tool that ranks wetland preservation and restoration opportunities for all of Wisconsin’s watersheds based on potential to abate floods, purify water, protect shorelines, maintain streamflow, store carbon, and provide habitat. Wetlands by Design provides a Level 1 GIS analysis, was field validated in the Milwaukee River Basin, and aims to support many users with diverse goals (regulatory/mitigation programs, outdoor enthusiasts, municipalities working to abate floods, etc.). We will discuss context and approach, show online mapping tool results, and look forward to a great conversation and feedback.


Tom Bernthal is the Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. He has worked with many colleagues to develop wetland monitoring and assessment methods at a wide variety of scales and settings, from intensive site monitoring in the field to GIS-based, watershed scale wetland assessment, as well as the mapping of wetlands and potentially restorable wetlands. He has an MS in Water Resources Management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Nick Miller as science director for The Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin, Nick brings science to conservation policy, strategies, and tools through ecological planning, monitoring, and collaboration. He’s currently focusing on ecosystem service assessments to drive wetland and watershed conservation, the development of biodiversity-based indicators of ecological condition for forest management, and exploring roles for natural infrastructure in water resource programs. Nick has a MS in wetland ecology from the University of Rhode Island and a BS in wildlife ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.   


Part 1: Introduction: Marla Stelk, Policy Analyst, 
Association of State Wetland Managers
Nick Miller, The Nature Conservancy
  Part 2: Presenter: Tom Bernthal, Wisconsin Department
of Natural Resources
Part 3: Presenters: Tom Bernthal, Wisconsin Department
Natural Resources and Nick Miller, The Nature
    Part 4: Questions/Answers    

 Green Infrastructure Resources for Coastal Flood Risk Management

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 - 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. EST


Association of State Floodplain Managers


  • Larry Larson, Association of State Floodplain Managers
  • Jeanne Christie, Association of State Wetland Managers


  • Maria Honeycutt, Ph.D., NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management
  • Lauren Long, The Baldwin Group, NOAA’s Office of Coastal Management 
  • Tashya Allen, The Baldwin Group, NOAA’s Office of Coastal Management 

View PowerPoint Presentation


Green infrastructure is gaining popularity as a strategy for protecting communities from coastal hazards, including coastal flooding and erosion. NOAA has developed a suite of products to help coastal managers and planners consider natural approaches to reduce coastal flooding associated with storms and sea level rise and protect coastal ecosystems.

During this webinar, participants will learn about resources to help visualize their exposure to coastal flood hazards, explore green infrastructure techniques to reduce impacts, and identify open space to gain credit through FEMA’s Community Rating System. Participants will also learn how their peers have tackled coastal flooding challenges using green infrastructure.


Maria Honeycutt, Ph.D., CFM, is a Coastal Hazards Specialist at NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management in Silver Spring, MD. Maria applies her expertise in coastal geology, flood modeling and floodplain mapping, and hazard mitigation in developing geospatial tools, guidance, and national flood policy. Maria has been an active member of ASFPM since 2001, a registered Certified Floodplain Manager since 2006, and represents NOAA on the Natural Floodplain Functions Alliance’s Steering Committee.

Lauren Long is a Coastal Conservation Specialist for The Baldwin Group at NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management in Charleston, SC. Lauren supports the Office’s green infrastructure work through product development, training, and technical assistance to help coastal communities reduce hazard impacts using green infrastructure.

Tashya Allen is a Coastal Hazards Specialist for The Baldwin Group at NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management in Charleston, SC. Tashya supports the Office’s hazard resilience work through product development, training, and technical assistance. Her focus areas are risk communication, community-based risk and vulnerability assessments, and green infrastructure.

Green Infrastructure Resources for Coastal Flood Risk Management

Reaching Across the Border to Improve Water Supplies for People and Nature: The United States, Mexico, and the Colorado River

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - 3:00 p.m. Eastern




The Colorado River Delta has long been desiccated, due to over-allocation of water supplies and persistent drought. In a series of recent agreements, the United States and Mexico have begun a collaborative effort with non-governmental organizations to restore water to this ecosystem for the purpose of re-creating riparian and estuarine habitat, in the context of agreements that improve the two countries’ ability to manage a diminishing water supply.


Jennifer Pitt joined Audubon in December 2015 to advise the organization’s strategies to protect and restore rivers throughout the Colorado River Basin. At Audubon she continues her work on United States–Mexico collaboration to restore the long-desiccated Colorado River Delta. Previously she worked as the Colorado River Project Director at the Environmental Defense Fund.


Part 1: Introduction: Marla Stelk, Policy Analyst,
Association of State Wetland Managers
Presenter: Jennifer Pitt, Audubon
      Part 2: Presenter: Jennifer Pitt, Audubon  
Part 3: Questions/Answers      

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Past NFFA Recorded Webinars: [20172016 - 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011]

Future NFFA Webinars