NEWS

Sample template for emailing or faxing your Congress member to save flood mapping program

Mar 21, 2017 | News & Views

Below is a template email/fax you can use, and feel free to modify as you see fit (especially
those elements in brackets). In the
House, you need to make this request by April 1. While the Senate does not yet
have a deadline, we still urge you to let them know where you stand on this
very important issue.

Subject: “Member ask” to Homeland Security Appropriations
Subcommittee–Floodplain Mapping and Pre-Disaster Mitigation

Dear [Member of Congress]:

I am a constituent and am writing you today to insist you
protect FEMA’s flood mapping and Pre-Disaster Mitigation programs from budget
cuts by funding them at FY16 levels and include them in your priority “member
ask” to Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. In FY16, Congress funded
these programs at $190 million and $100 million, respectively.

Flooding affects every congressional district in America,
causing more than $10 billion/year in actual damage and losses to American
families and businesses. Flood mapping is the foundation of any serious flood
loss reduction effort. You need to know where the risk is before you can do
something about it. Currently only a third of our creeks, rivers and coastlines
have been mapped. In areas that have been mapped, the data needs to be updated.

NFIP policyholders are not the only group using these maps. They
are used by states, communities, Realtors, developers, multiple federal
agencies, businesses and individuals. Emergency managers and citizens use them
to identify evacuation routes during a flood. Community planners and floodplain
managers use them for community planning, parks and open space planning, and
implementation of zoning and other land use standards. Flood provisions in
building codes are based on flood maps. And floodplain maps that also have high
resolution elevation data (a flood map component) are valuable to farmers to
improve field management and be able to implement precision farming methods. Major
new infrastructure investments are foolish unless you have good flood mapping
information to design and build it safely.

Congress authorized the National Flood Mapping Program, and
we need to complete what was required–mapping ALL flood risks in the ENTIRE
nation. The Association of State Floodplain Managers estimates it will take
sustained funding of $4.5 billion to $7.5 billion for that to happen, and get
to a steady-state maintenance phase. The National Flood Mapping Program is
authorized, in statute, at $400 million/year.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Many flood
losses come from older buildings that can be “mitigated” under the Pre-Disaster
Mitigation program. So Congress can either use taxpayer funds now to prevent
flood damage for at-risk buildings, or pay later for billions in disaster
assistance using taxpayer money. Investments in pre-disaster mitigation can also
improve flood insurance affordability, reducing rates by as much as 75%.

In your district/state, here are some specific
mapping/mitigation needs:

[Here is where you describe more specific mitigation/mapping
needs, even if they are not currently in FEMA’s mapping needs system and/or a
formal mitigation project application. The point here is to make the issue
local. For example, Water County has 35-year-old flood maps that have never
been modernized; or we have repetitive flooding in the community outside of the
mapped floodplain; or Floodville has developed a mitigation project application
to elevate 50 homes that can be funded by Pre-Disaster Mitigation. The point is
to show that there is demand for these services in the district.]

Thank you for your consideration of my request.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Author