Homeland Security Grants Wash. $1.6M for Flood Mapping Modernization

June 24, 2005

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has obligated more than $1.6 million to the Washington State Department of Ecology under FEMA’s Cooperating Technical Partners (CTP) program to help transform Washington flood maps into more reliable, easier to use and readily available digital products. According to Under Secretary of Homeland Security and FEMA Director Mike Brown, reliable information about risk is the first step in preventing and reducing losses.

“Map Modernization gives everyone — communities, government agencies and homeowners, the ability to broaden risk management activities from a single hazard to a multi-hazard approach,” said Brown. “CTP partners allow us to leverage tax payer dollars and access state-of-the-art technology while building a safer, more disaster resilient America.”

Why modernize the national flood maps? According to FEMA Regional Director John Pennington, the national flood map inventory includes 90,000 flood maps for over 20,000 communities, and most are more than 10 years old. “Flood hazards are dynamic and older maps may not reflect recent development or natural changes in the environment,” said Pennington.

Through CTP grants, FEMA hopes to develop state partners with the knowledge and capabilities to become full mapping partners. This latest grant allows the Washington State Department of Ecology to convert the existing flood insurance rate maps for King, Kitsap, Spokane and Yakima counties to FEMA’s new digital standards (Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps, or DFIRM). The department will also oversee the development of new Digital Flood Insurance Studies (DFIS) in Yakima County.

To learn more about flood hazard mapping, the CTP initiative and DFIRM, or to download FEMA’s Guidelines and Specifications for Flood hazard Mapping Partners, visit: www.fema.gov/fhm.

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