Digital Coast Webinar: Planning Tools for Hazards Resilience and Climate Change

A major challenge for coastal communities is planning for the impacts of current and future flood hazards. In this webinar hosted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management, you will learn about two tools developed to facilitate resilience planning in coastal communities. The first step in planning for flood impacts is to understand a community’s exposure to coastal flood hazards. The Coastal Flood Exposure Mapper helps communities get the conversation started about flood hazard risks and vulnerabilities by providing maps and information showing where people, places, and natural resources are at risk from flooding. The mapper displays shallow coastal flooding, flood zones, storm surge, sea level rise, and a composite view of flood hazards, along with societal, infrastructure, and ecosystem information.

The next step in planning is to identify and prioritize strategies that address climate and hazard risks. Coastal green infrastructure is an emerging approach that communities are using to reduce the impacts of coastal hazards. With limited budgets for projects like green infrastructure, communities must prioritize natural areas that give the most benefits. The Green Infrastructure Mapping Guide is an interactive online resource to help spatial analysts who are tasked with using geographic information systems to prioritize green infrastructure to reduce hazard impacts and aid in climate adaptation.

Date: Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Time: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET

Register for the webinar.

Do You Know the Difference Between Your Company’s Disaster Risk and Its Preparedness Level?

Each year, lack of disaster preparedness takes a severe financial toll on small businesses. Meanwhile, with solid planning, a business owner can protect both financial and human capital, developing an organization resilient enough to withstand any kind of threat.

Learn how preparedness affects your company’s bottom line at a free webinar, “The Impact of Preparedness on the Bottom Line,” hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Agility Recovery on Wednesday, August 5, 2015, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET.

SBA has partnered with Agility to offer business continuity strategies at, where you can access past webinars and get additional preparedness tips.

Space is limited. Register at

REMINDER: Funding Opportunity for Fiscal Year 2015 Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grants

FEMA announced $180 million in funding available through two Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs: Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) and Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM). These two grant programs assist state, local, tribal, and territorial governments in strengthening our nation’s ability to reduce the potential cost of natural disasters to communities and their citizens.

Both HMA FY 2015 Funding Opportunity Announcements can be found at Eligible applicants must apply for funding through the Mitigation eGrants system on the FEMA Grants Portal accessible at All applications must be submitted no later than August 28, 2015 at 3 p.m. EDT.

FEMA’s HMA grant programs provide states, local governments, tribes, and territories funding for eligible mitigation activities to strengthen our nation’s ability to reduce disaster losses and protect life and property from future disaster damages. Further information on these grant programs is available at

Mitigation Planning Information Exchange Webinars

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is partnering with the American Planning Association (APA) and the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) to offer a free quarterly webinar series to facilitate the sharing of ideas, challenges, best practices, and evolving methods and techniques in hazard mitigation planning. The webinars are intended to encourage peer-to-peer learning and exchange of information among federal, state, and local planners and plan implementers.

The webinars will primarily focus on mitigation planning for all hazards and also cover the connection between mitigation planning and recovery planning and preparedness.

Participants can earn one continuing education credit through APA and ASFPM.

Visit the APA website for more information and to learn about upcoming webinars.

Flood Map Update Process Enters the 90-Day Appeal Period

The statutory 90-day appeal period is underway for many coastal New Jersey and New York communities that have received updated Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). During the appeal period, anyone can submit information that shows the proposed flood hazards or other information on the preliminary FIRM or in the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) report is not correct. The dates of the 90-day appeal period vary by community—you can check the dates that apply for your community on the Appeal Period Start and End Dates page.

For more information about the appeal and comment process and how to submit feedback, refer to the Region II Appeal Period page.

Now Available: Submit Appeals and Comments Online through the Preliminary Flood Map Feedback Portal

The Preliminary Flood Map Feedback Portal was developed by the FEMA Region II office to support the statutory appeals process for preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) released for communities affected by the New York/New Jersey coastal flood study. It is intended to make the process for submitting and tracking appeals and comments easier for both community officials and members of the public. The Portal:

  • allows community officials and members of the public to submit feedback, which will be categorized as either appeals or comments, on the preliminary FIRMs and Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports online.
  • allows community officials to provide input on submissions from the public prior to FEMA review per National Flood Insurance Program regulations.
  • makes it easier for community officials to view and manage all submissions that affect their community.
  • allows for all submitters to easily view and track the status of their requests.

The Portal includes learning resources, including step-by-step instructions for local community officials and members of the public. Before you get started, visit the Appeal Period page to learn when the appeal period starts and ends for your community and data requirements that may apply.

Register for the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard Implementation Listening Session

Please join FEMA and federal partners for a Listening Session in the New York City metropolitan area on the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard Implementation. The session provides the opportunity to listen, ask questions, and provide feedback on how federal agencies implement the Standard.

When: March 27, 2015 from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. ET
Where: Jerome Greene Hall, Room 104, Columbia Law School, 435 West 116th Street (corner of Amsterdam Avenue), New York, NY 10027

FEMA, on behalf of the Mitigation Framework Leadership Group (MitFLG), published a draft version of Implementing Guidelines that remains open for comment. The MitFLG, a collection of federal agencies with programs and authorities designed to mitigate the impacts of disasters on communities, will accept written comments through the Federal Register process from those unable to attend the public meeting. 

Due to space constraints of the facilities, seating may be limited. To reserve a seat in advance, please provide a request via email at least three days in advance with the contact information of the participant (including name, mailing address, and e-mail address), and the meeting to be attended to and include the subject/attention line: Reservation Request for FFRMS. For anyone attending the meetings who is hearing or visually impaired, or who requires special assistance or accommodations, please also contact


On January 30, the President issued an Executive Order, “Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and a Process for Further Soliciting and Considering Stakeholder Input.” Future federal investments in, and affecting floodplains, will be required to meet the level of resilience established in the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard. This includes projects where federal funds are used to build new structures and facilities, or to rebuild those that have been damaged. These projects make sure that buildings are constructed to withstand the impacts of flooding, improve the resilience of communities, and protect federal investments.

The Standard requires agencies to consider the best available, actionable science of both current and future risk when taxpayer dollars are used to build or rebuild in floodplains. On average, more people die annually from flooding than any other natural hazard. Further, the costs borne by the federal government are more than any other hazard. Water-related disasters account for approximately 85% of all disaster declarations.

The MitFLG will revise the draft Implementing Guidelines, based on input received through the Listening Sessions and comments, and provide recommendations to the Water Resources Council.

The Water Resources Council will, after considering the recommendations of the MitFLG, issue amended guidelines to federal agencies on the implementation of the Standard. Agencies will not issue or amend existing regulations or program procedures until the Water Resources Council issues amended guidelines that are informed by stakeholder input.

FEMA and the MitFLG look forward to your participation and input in the process as part of the work towards reducing flood risk, increasing resilience, cutting future economic losses, and potentially saving lives.

Now Available: Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps for Union County, New Jersey

Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for Union County, New Jersey are now available.  You can look up the flood zone and Base Flood Elevation (BFE) from the maps for a specific property using the What is My BFE? address lookup tool.

This information is also available through FEMA’s Map Service Center, the official source for preliminary and effective regulatory FIRMs. Online tutorials are available from FEMA which provide assistance in using both the FIRM and the Flood Insurance Study Report. Additional information is also available through the Preliminary FIRM FAQ.

New Executive Order Establishes Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

Recognizing the increased flood risk caused by climate change, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order on January 30, 2015, that establishes a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard to reduce the cost of future flood disasters. This standard requires Federally funded projects (e.g., buildings, roads, and other infrastructure) that impact floodplains to meet higher flood risk standards.

The Administration also released draft guidelines for implementing the standard for public comment. Agencies will be able to implement the standard in a number of ways and seek input from the public and stakeholders before doing so.

For more information on the new standard, see the Council on Environmental Quality fact sheet Taking Action to Protect Communities and Reduce the Cost of Future Flood Disasters.