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Association of State Flood Plain Managers

Association of State Flood Plain Managers Association of State Flood Plain Managers
Association of State Flood Plain Managers

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ASFPM Exec. Dir. Chad Berginnis reflects on 2018, and what's ahead in 2019
Friday, December 21, 2018

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 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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