- Risk MAP is a program that reinforces the commitment of FEMA’s Mitigation Division’s assistance to the communities that we serve. The Discovery Meeting acts to familiarize communities with the risk analysis, risk reduction and risk insurance programs, products and services available to communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
- FEMA is interested in building strong community partnerships and work together to increase a community’s capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate against all hazards.
- The intent of our Discovery efforts is to identify potential mitigation opportunities for FEMA to partner with a watershed community to reduce their natural hazard risk. The Discovery meeting is an opportunity for us to meet with community officials and other interested parties to identify projects and mitigation actions that can be taken to further a community’s resilience to natural hazards.
- The Discovery Meeting is meant to allow FEMA and its watershed partners to compile a comprehensive picture of your community’s natural hazard risk. FEMA relies heavily on information and data provided by the community itself and understands a community knows itself best.
- Communities are encouraged to identify mitigation actions they are interested in taking to reduce their risk.
- A review of data (ie. population growth/concentration, land use change, Coordinated Needs Mangagement Strategy, or CNMS database) throughout the Region has indicated that flood risk within your community/watershed may be altered due to some of these change factors. The Discovery effort allows FEMA to validate this information against local knowledge and provides a face-to-face meeting opportunity.
- Emergency Management professionals within your community hold a great wealth of information about where natural hazard risk exists within your community. The Discovery Meeting is an opportunity for your community to share the knowledge of your first-responders and better inform FEMA of areas of high hazard risk within your community.
- Local/Urban Planners, Tax Assessors and Building Officials within your community can assist in the identification of neighborhoods, subdivisions and other opportunities within the watershed for projects to remove or reduce risk within your community. They may have data or knowledge that could assist your community in the identification of potential mitigation projects within your community.
- Floodplain Management professionals, Engineering and Public Works staff have on the ground knowledge of the conveyance systems and neighborhoods within your community, they can assist in assuring that FEMA has a complete and comprehensive picture of the flooding sources that flow through your jurisdiction.
- The local Community Elected Official is key to our process and is welcomed to the Discovery Meeting to assure we understand what makes a community home to the residents and businesses that reside within your community boundaries. FEMA would like to work with the local community officials to increase risk awareness throughout the community. The discovery effort allows FEMA to better understand what makes your community “tick”.
- The “Discovery process” is a coordination effort with your community to get a more holistic picture of your local flood risk, mitigation efforts, and spark watershed-wide discussions about increasing resilience to flooding. In advance of the Discovery Meeting we suggest a quick review of:
o Your Hazard Mitigation Plan – Particularly the Hazard Profiles, Mitigation Strategies and Mitigation Action sections
o Your local knowledge base to identify opportunities for projects to change your community’s interaction with the natural hazards which affect it
o Your current local risk awareness efforts and information channels to make this information available to the residents and business owners within your community
o Additionally, we suggest that you collect information about your flooding history, development plans, and daily operations and stormwater management activities that impact flood risk throughout your community and bring this information to the Discovery Meetings held within your watershed.
A Watershed Approach to Understanding Risk
- A watershed is the area of land where all of the waters drain to a common waterway, such as a stream, lake, wetland, aquifer, or even the Gulf. A watershed is sometimes also referred to as a “river basin,” a “river valley,” or a “drainage basin.”
- Watersheds loosely define communities that are connected by a common water source. Activities that occur on the land or in the waterway of one town will affect the land and waterways of other towns within that watershed.
- FEMA will use watershed boundaries to conduct future studies: to evaluate risk, need, elevation data/acquisition, and the availability of community contributions.
- Understanding flood risks in a watershed can help communities create or improve mitigation plans with actionable mitigation activities, make informed decisions about local development or ordinances and communicate flood risks more effectively to the people who live and do business there.