Overcoming Policy and Permitting Challenges to Implementing Natural Infrastructure Solutions

A Natural Floodplain Functions Alliance Workshop

LOCATION: The Pew Charitable Trusts, 901 E St. NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20004

DATE: November 29, 2016

INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

  • Agenda

Overcoming Policy and Permitting Challenges to Implementing Natural Infrastructure Solutions

  • Introduction - Jeanne Christie, Executive Director, Association of State Wetland Managers [POWERPOINT PRESENTATION]
  • Case Studies

1) Cox Brook Dam Removal Project, Northfield, VT - Rob Evans, State Floodplain Manager, River Corridor & Floodplain Protection Program, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation [POWERPOINT PRESENTATION]

The Cox Brook Dam in Northfield, VT was removed to restore ecological and hydrologic processes.  Cox Brook has a mapped regulatory flood hazard area with base flood elevations published in the Flood Insurance Study and Flood Insurance Rate Map adopted by the community.  National Flood Insurance Program regulations in 44 C.F.R., 65.3 require the published information to be revised when projects result in increases or decrease to base flood elevations.  While the dam removal project resulted in decreases to base flood elevations, a map revision application was not submitted due to a number of considerations, including: 1) limited impact to the mapped flood hazard area; 2) very localized reductions in base flood elevations; 3) no impact to insurable buildings, and 4) disproportionately high map revision cost due to age of the flood data.  As a result, certified as-built topographic information was filed with FEMA to be archived for future restudy.

Appended to the above presentation was information regarding FEMA Region 1 Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) Program letter stating that the planting of  tree saplings is an encroachment in a floodway in need of hydraulic analysis to ensure no increase in base flood elevations assuming the trees at full maturity.  The Vermont Rivers Program strongly believes that this is a misapplication of the floodway regulations, is not consistent with HMA goals on structure acquisition parcels, and will serve as a disincentive to planting projects.

Cox Brook Dam Removal - Northfield, Vermont - State Floodplain Manager, River Corridor & Floodplain Protection Program, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, March 29, 2010

Proposed Tree Planting at Acquisition Sites Acquired with Hazard Mitigation Grant Program ("HMGP") Funds - State Floodplain Manager, River Corridor & Floodplain Protection Program, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, November 30, 2016

2) Private Lands Riverine Restoration Project, Nebraska - Ted LaGrange, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Case study summary: We had a private lands riverine restoration which included filling a drainage ditch, mechanical excavation to remove invasive cattail and culturally-accelerated sediment, and installing a low-water crossing/rock check structure.  We had considerable back and forth with the USACE on this project over what was considered a complete PCN, what was acceptable for the wetland functional assessment (quantitative versus qualitative), and what was acceptable for the wetland delineation (and the geography that the delineation needed to cover.)  The NWP #27 authorization took about 14 months to obtain, with approximately 6 months of this delay being due to having to re-complete the delineation and having to wait until the growing season to do so.  Additionally, within this time, there were three times that the USACE was outside of the 30 or 45 day calendar day response window.

Private Lands Riverine Restoration Project, Nebraska - Ted LaGrange, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission [POWERPOINT PRESENTATION]

Nebraska Cast Study Background Information - Ted LaGrange, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

3) Shuford Dam Removal Project, Brookford, NC - Eileen Shader, American Rivers 

Policy and Permitting Challenges for Dam Removal - Eileen Shader, American Rivers [POWERPOINT PRESENTATION]

Overcoming Policy and Permitting Challenges Workshop
: Natural Floodplain Functions Alliance - November 29, 2016 - Eileen Shader, American Rivers 

  • Notes and Facilitated Discussion by Mike Klein, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

Opportunities for Facilitating Natural Infrastructure Solutions [POWERPOINT PRESENTATION]

Notes from Workshop - Marla Stelk, ASWM

Next Steps - Marla Stelk, ASWM

Issues to Address and Related Follow-on Actions from the 29 Nov Workshop, “Overcoming Policy and Permitting Challenges to Implementing Natural Infrastructure Solutions

  • Resources

The Natural Floodplain Functions Alliance

Integrated, Fluvial Process-Based Performance Standards Used in Vermont to Promote Restoration and Avoid New Channelization and Loss of Natural Floodplain Functions - Mike Kline, Vermont Rivers Program Manager (November, 2016)

Policy for Implementation and Integrated Application of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Environmental Operating Principles (EOP) and Doctrine - Cindy Barger, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

USACE 'reinvigorates' Environmental Operating Principles (8/29/2012) - Cindy Barger, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

FEMA Letters of Map Change - Rick Sacbibit, P.E., Engineering Services Branch Chief, FEMA Headquarters [POWERPOINT PRESENTATION]

Permits for Voluntary Wetland Restoration: A Handbook - Association of State Wetland Managers (November 2013)

Voluntary Restoration of Wetlands: Complex Issues in the Regulation of Restoration Projects - Association of State Wetland Managers (November 2013)