Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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SRWMD receiving $1.8M to assist FEMA with better flood hazard data

LIVE OAK, FL, January 11, 2012 – On Jan. 10, the Suwannee River Water Management District’s Governing Board authorized the District to enter into an agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist with flood mapping efforts. FEMA will provide a $1.8 million grant for the District to administer FEMA’s Risk MAP (Mapping, Assessment, and Planning) Program for the Upper Suwannee River and the Santa Fe River basins.

Since 1999, the District has served as a technical partner with FEMA to update flood hazard data and flood maps. The first phase of the project included assisting FEMA with the development of Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs) for all counties within the District as part of FEMA’s Map Modernization Program. The process involved remapping certain floodplain boundaries, converting old, paper maps into digital format, and producing geographical information system (GIS) data to support the new maps.

The District is nearing the completion of this phase of the project, with maps for Bradford and Levy counties entering the final stages of completion. Northwest Florida Water Management District is developing the DFIRMs for Jefferson County.

In the Risk MAP phase of the project, the District will assist FEMA with obtaining additional and more precise information about flood risks to better assess flood hazards. For instance, whereas the first phase of the project identified floodplain boundaries, the second phase will specify the depth of flooding in those flood hazard areas.

The District will use part of the FEMA grant to obtain data through the use of light detection and ranging (LiDAR), a data-collection method that provides more detailed topographic information.

“Having more precise data will allow us to better identify, assess, and mitigate flood risks,” said James Link, District’s FEMA program manager. “This will assist our communities by helping to prevent loss of life and property.”

These programs are part of FEMA’s plan to provide updated flood hazard data to identify flood risks for flood insurance and development purposes. To learn more about these programs visit http://www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/fhm/mm_main.shtm and http://www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/fhm/rm_main.shtm.

The District disseminates floodplain mapping information to the public through its website at www.srwmd.state.fl.us/index.aspx?nid=33.

The District manages water and related natural resources in north-central Florida by providing water quality and quantity monitoring, research, regulation, land acquisition and management, and flood protection. 

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