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ASFPM Exec. Dir. Chad Berginnis reflects on 2018, and what’s ahead in 2019

by | Dec 21, 2018 | ASFPM, News & Views

What
a year!

2018…wow!
Reflecting on this past year, I feel so blessed and humbled to be here at ASFPM
doing the important work of flood loss reduction. We have had some major
victories during the year, some setbacks, and plenty of opportunities going
into 2019. Let’s take a look at some highlights.

On
the funding front, as 2018 winds down we are coming off of back-to-back years
of record funding for flood mapping, which means community FIRMs get updated
more often. We also had substantial amounts of funding going towards
pre-disaster mitigation. But what really is stunning is the amount of
post-disaster mitigation funding that has been made available through a
combination of HMGP and also through funding supplemental passed by Congress. The
remarkable $28 billion made available through the CDBG-DR is the highest amount
I can recall. And of course all of this funding goes to state and local
projects to be more resilient.

From
a policy standpoint, I like to measure victories by new policies that achieve
our goals of flood loss reduction and preventing bad policies from being
enacted. As you can read in ASFPM Chair Maria Cox Lamm’s column, perhaps the
biggest win was elements of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act. Among the dozen
or so provisions that I would consider good for flood loss reduction is the new
formula based pre-disaster mitigation program and new authority for assistance
in doing substantial damage determinations and code administration/enforcement.

There
were some elements of the legislation that weren’t so good as well. I think
that NFIP reform failing in 2018 is OK. While there were a lot of thoughtful
reforms in three Senate proposals, the House bill had a lot more bad than good
and we felt would ultimately weaken the NFIP and its benefits (mapping,
mitigation and floodplain management) that go with it. There really wasn’t a
pathway to compromise. So, in 2019 it would be great to have some additional
hearings to address current flooding issues like urban flooding, repetitive
losses, FEMA’s progress on the national flood mapping program, etc. and get a
thoughtful reform package.

We
almost got a Digital Coast Act in 2018; however, I think the prospects are
better in 2019 for it coming to fruition. FEMA’s new strategic plan is the most
mitigation friendly one I have ever seen and there are new opportunities
through the 2018 Water Resources Development Act to promote nonstructural flood
proofing alternatives. Your voice is reflected in many comments ASFPM sent to
different federal agencies as they worked to implement programs and in ongoing
meetings where ASPFM represents our members interests (Operating Partners for
flood mapping, FIPNC/IBHS Flood Committee for flood insurance, FEMA Higher
Education, periodic meetings with agency leaders, etc.).

Internally,
there has been progress too. ASFPM’s CFM program having recently certified its
10,000th CFM is using an updated exam and the Certification Board of
Regents is working hard on implementing its new strategic plan. ASFPM
membership continues to grow and we are working hard to focus services on
meeting the needs of our members. Our webinar series – the Planning Information
Exchange (a partnership initiative with the American Planning Association) and
the low-cost ASFPM webinar series are seeing good attendance, and there are
many more training opportunities on the horizon now that we have a full-time
training and e-learning coordinator on staff.

But
training comes in a variety of ways, which is why we launched our state
mentoring program. We are in the process of updating ASFPM’s main website
www.floods.org
as well, and will be updating ASFPM’s strategic plan in 2019.

ASFPM’s
National Flood Barrier Testing and Certification Program is receiving record
manufacturer interest and there are new resources for those thinking of
purchasing barrier products.

The
Flood Science Center is working on a multitude of projects – for example, did
you know that you can get access to many great K-12 flood education resources
through our project
website?

ASFPM
has built a substantial following on different social media platforms – trying
to meet our members where they are most comfortable interfacing with us. Finally
the ASFPM Foundation has launched its exciting new ASFPM Foundation Future
Leaders Scholarship, and awarded its first recipient!

ASFPM
continues to strengthen the many partnerships we have with other organizations.
In 2018 we were invited to be part of the Federal Alliance of Safe Homes new
Resilience Policy Council; we partnered with the National Association of
Realtors to revive the Flood Map Coalition; and are now part of a weekly policy
working group with about a dozen other national organizations. Currently ASFPM
is in the process of finalizing a MOA with our counterpart in Australia – Floodplain
Management Australia.

Of
course all of this would simply not be possible without the support of our
members, chapters, corporate and agency partners, and project funders. I am
profoundly grateful for your support of ASFPM in the past year. As we look
towards 2019, there are two things of which I am certain. It will flood and
ASFPM will be there to help!

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