Flooding/Stormwater Related Programs in Pennsylvania: Data, Models, Products, Applicability
This white paper, released Jan. 15, 2016, was created by the Stormwater SubCommittee of the Floodplain Mapping and Technical Committee of the Pennsylvania Association of Floodplain Managers.
“Flooding and stormwater, in the past, had been thought of as two separate regulatory programs. This is evidenced by Pennsylvania’s Act 166, the Flood Plain Management Act, and Act 167, The Storm Water Management Act. As a result, various water‐related programs had been developed throughout the Commonwealth independently of each other, with many of the same goals, wants, needs and data not coordinated. However, through the years, Floodplain Managers have learned that proper stormwater management can help reduce flooding, and that the two disciplines are truly integrated through integrated water resource management. This white paper reviews the background, jurisdiction and legal authority of the various programs in the State of Pennsylvania; their goals, geographic extent of the program, data required, models utilized, final products, applicability to other programs and their current status and budget as well as recommendations for corrective measures that are supported by the PA Floodplain Managers. The goal is to helpfully guide the future of these and new programs, to coordinate policy, efforts, data, procedures, and products, and to save valuable funds and resources,” from the executive summary.
The paper concludes, “There are many Federal, State, Regional and Local programs related to flooding and/or stormwater. Oftentimes in the past, these programs had one specific goal in mind, and followed independent paths, which resulted in duplication of efforts and data and wasted expenditure of public funds. Going forward, better coordination of programs would save money, and achieve multiple objectives. This white paper is not exhaustive, but current knowledge is clear ‐ that flooding first starts with stormwater runoff, and that managing one benefits the other.
“There has been little legislative advance in recent years to coordinate the two initiatives and there is variable guidance from the Federal level. Data coordination is paramount to the success of proper stormwater and floodplain management, and for regulatory efficiency. In developing the scale, accuracy, and attributes of water related GIS data, all programs should be considered so that the data is usable at all levels, not just for a specific need resulting in duplication of the same data layer, i.e. streams.
“The next step is to examine the data created and used in these same programs in more depth and to settle on a single model and data management scheme for the Commonwealth. Forward thinking is needed. Delay is unnecessary.” ‘