EPA releases new flood management tool, helps communities be more flood resilient

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BOSTON, MA, JULY 10, 2014 -- On Tuesday, July 8, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new tool to help communities prepare for, deal with and recover from floods.

Called the Flood Resilience Checklist, the technology offers strategies that communities can consider, such as conserving land in flood-prone areas; directing new development to safer areas; and using green infrastructure approaches, such as installing rain gardens, to manage stormwater. The checklist is part of a new report, "Planning for Flood Recovery and Long-Term Resilience in Vermont: Smart Growth Approaches for Disaster-Resilient Communities."

The report is a product of EPA's year-long Smart Growth Implementation Assistance project in Vermont where EPA worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state agencies, including the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, to help communities recover from Tropical Storm Irene. Although the project focused on Vermont, the policy options and checklist in the report can help any community seeking to become more flood resilient.

"Flood risk in New England is increasing with climate change. We have seen severe impacts from floods across our region, and we must be thinking about how to prepare for the next big storm," said EPA Regional Administrator Curt Spalding. "Parts of the Mad River Valley have focused on implementing locally specific smart growth techniques when rebuilding after Tropical Storm Irene. These efforts have contributed to this checklist that will help flood-prone communities think through these issues and come up with the solutions that work best for them."

As part of the Smart Growth Implementation Assistance project, FEMA and EPA also supported the development of Vermont State Agency Policy Options, a report that provides more detailed suggestions for how Vermont state agencies can coordinate their efforts to plan for, respond to and recover from floods.

EPA will host a webinar (found here) on lessons learned from the Vermont project on Wednesday, Aug. 13. The webinar will feature speakers from FEMA, the state of Vermont and the Mad River Valley Planning District.

See also:

"NASA satellites detect possible disastrous flooding months in advance, finds research"

"Green Gardening: Program Hires Youth to Build Rain Gardens, Improve Communities' Stormwater Management"

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