NEW JERSEY ASSOCIATION

FOR FLOODPLAIN MANAGEMENT

News & Announcements Blog

This blog is about NJAFM News and Announcements. Posts can only be made by NJAFM Administrators, however comments to the posts can be made by all registered members. If you have an announcement that you would like posted to this blog, send the request to greg@njafm.org . This blog is viewable by the public.

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  • Tuesday, August 25, 2020 4:53 PM | Gregory Westfall (Administrator)

    The CFS training and certification program is designed to educate New Jersey licensed surveyors on the processes and forms associated with floodplain properties and the submittal of elevation certificates.   This training program is highly specific to the role of surveying in floodplain management and is state specific.

    WHEN:  10/19/2020 at 8 a.m.

    WHERE:   The Clarion Hotel, 815 Route 37 West,  Toms River, NJ   08755

     CONTACT: Mark Husik,  marklhusik@gmail.com, 800-853-5263                                            

    For more information go to here.

                

  • Thursday, March 26, 2020 3:18 PM | Gregory Westfall (Administrator)

    The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Elevation Certificate (EC) is an administrative tool used by the NFIP.  It is used to provide elevation information necessary to ensure compliance with community floodplain management ordinances; to determine the proper insurance premium rate; and or support a request for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) to remove a building from the Special Flood Hazard Area.

    The only change that was made to this newly released version is an updated expiration date. All the text in the form and the instructions is the same as the previous version. Reissuing the previous form with a new expiration date was a a mandatory step before FEMA can revise the form and instructions. As per OMB, an expired form cannot be revised.  The form and instructions can be found here.

  • Thursday, March 26, 2020 3:09 PM | Gregory Westfall (Administrator)

    As sea levels rise due to climate change, planners and policymakers in flood-prone areas must plan ahead to protect vulnerable residents from the effects of flooding. To plan effectively, they need vital information about the people and housing located in the floodplains. To meet this need, the NYU Furman Center, with funding from the Kresge Foundation, designed FloodzoneData.us, a tool that describes the housing stock and population in floodplains at the national, state, county, and census tract level. These data can help policymakers assess needs and formulate plans and policies for floodplain management.

    Data for all the states were analyzed for the 100 year and the combined (100 yr and 500 yr) floodplains for children, seniors, race, ethnicity and poverty.  For state by state information and the full publication go here.


  • Wednesday, March 25, 2020 3:27 PM | Gregory Westfall (Administrator)

    The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Technical Bulletins provide guidance for complying with the NFIP’s building performance requirements and are designed to help state and local officials interpret the NFIP Regulations. They are also a useful resource and reference for homeowners, insurance agents, building professionals and designers.

    FEMA is updating the NFIP Technical Bulletins to improve their usability, credibility, and content while presenting them in a streamlined format. Technical Bulletins 1 & 5 were last updated more than 10 years ago. These updated editions incorporate the latest relevant codes and standards and state-of-the-art guidance and best practices. They were developed with significant stakeholder input to help local officials meet or exceed relevant NFIP requirements.

    Technical Bulletin 1, Requirements for Flood Openings in Foundation Walls and Walls of Enclosures (TB 1) explains the NFIP requirements for flood openings in exterior walls and walls of enclosures below elevated buildings. Flood openings equalize flood forces by allowing the entry and exit of floodwaters. This Technical Bulletin describes two options for satisfying the requirements, referred to as engineered openings and non-engineered openings. In addition to illustrating enclosures that require openings and those that do not, TB 1 covers the requirements and guidance for installation of openings. Updates include:

    • New tables comparing National Flood Insurance Program opening requirements with related building code requirements;
    • Guidance on unusual configurations such as sloping sites, multiple enclosed areas, large enclosed areas, and sites with shallow flooding;
    • New guidance on above-grade enclosed areas and two-level enclosures;
    • Expanded discussion on completing the FEMA Elevation Certificate (EC) and documentation for certification of engineered openings.

    Technical Bulletin 5, Free-of-Obstruction Requirements (TB 5) provides guidance on the National Flood Insurance Program free-of-obstruction requirement in Coastal High Hazard Areas (Zone V), as well as general construction methods that minimize flood damage potential in Zone V. TB 5 describes methods for avoiding potential building and site obstructions that could divert or obstruct floodwater and waves below elevated buildings which could impose additional flood loads on foundation systems or adjacent buildings. Updates include:

    • New tables comparing National Flood Insurance Program free of obstruction requirements with related building code requirements;
    • Clarification of the requirements for design certification in Zone V;
    • New guidance on enclosed areas below elevated buildings, including louvers/lattice, above-grade enclosures, and two-level enclosures;
    • Revised guidance of below-base flood elevation building elements including mechanical, electrical and plumbing equipment, ducts, tanks and fixtures and others;
    • Revised guidance of site development practices such as accessory storage structures, the use of fill and others.

    For more information on FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program’s Technical Bulletins, visit: https://www.fema.gov/nfip-technical-bulletins

    For more information on FEMA Building Science, visit: https://www.fema.gov/building-science


  • Friday, March 20, 2020 5:07 PM | Gregory Westfall (Administrator)

    Presentation Given by John Miller, PE, CFM, CSM at the 3rd Annual New Jersey Watershed Conference, November 1, 2019.

    https://thewatershed.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/JMiller_Watershed-Conference_Miller_FEMA.pdf

  • Friday, March 20, 2020 4:52 PM | Gregory Westfall (Administrator)

    The lessons she's learned may resonate with others struggling with flooding.

    By Samantha Harrington
    Monday, March 9, 2020
    TOPICS

    Ocean City flooding(Photo credit: U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Evan Lyon via DVIDSHUB / Flickr)

    In the early 1940s, Suzanne Hornick’s family bought a bit of land in Ocean City, New Jersey, where Hornick still lives.

    “I’ve been sitting on this same couple square grains of sand my whole life,” she said in a recent interview. “I don’t like any other beach. I’m attached to my own little one.”

    But as Ocean City – a community of 11,000 people that’s located on a barrier island – and nearby wetlands were developed starting in the 1980s, parts of the island began to flood regularly. As the years went by and seas rose, the flooding grew worse. The flooding blocked streets and spilled into the ground level of homes. In the winter, chunks of ice floated on the floodwaters between houses. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy devastated the New Jersey coast.

    FloodingFlooding from a winter storm in January 2016 stranded Ocean City residents for days. (Photo credit: Roseanne Monfardini/ISeeChange)

    The flooding didn’t deter developers, who replaced the city’s traditional cottages with towering homes.

    Several of Hornick’s friends decided to leave the island altogether.

    But she has stayed to fight back against the rising sea. With few assets aside from a camera, a Facebook page, the assistance of a local scientist, and a boatload of anger, she’s had surprising success – and the lessons she’s learned will resonate with other coastal communities wrestling with flooding.

    It began with a Facebook group

    During a rainstorm several years ago, Hornick was at a gathering at a friend’s house. Floodwaters trapped her there for hours. She and her friends began complaining about the constant inundations.

    “Next thing you know, we’ve formed a committee,” she recalled.

    In 2015, the Ocean City, NJ Flooding Committee was born as a network of neighbors, mostly organized through a Facebook group. Hornick has managed the group ever since.

    “This all started because I had a big mouth,” she said. “I wanted to make the only asset I had safe, livable, and appreciable for my children.”

    Since Hornick’s family moved to Ocean City, coastal communities have become more vulnerable to flooding, for the most part because of three main changes: more development, more rain, and sea-level rise.

    Between 1970 and 2010, the coastal population in the U.S. grew by 34.8 million people, a 39% increase. The trend continues along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts. To accommodate more people, developers constructed buildings on former wetlands and other green spaces. That increased stormwater runoff and reduced the amount of land available to hold water during floods.

    Meanwhile, climate change has brought the threat of more intense rain to the coast. According to the National Climate Assessment, “Increased evaporation rates lead to higher levels of water vapor in the atmosphere, which in turn lead to more frequent and intense precipitation extremes.” This trend is particularly strong in the Northeast, which saw a 38% increase in the amount of total annual rain falling during the heaviest rain events from 1901-2016.

    Sea-level rise has also increased the flood risk. According to the National Climate Assessment, “Global average sea level has risen by about 7-8 inches since 1900, with almost half this rise occurring since 1993.” By the end of the century, the sea is likely to rise another one to four feet above 2000 levels. Higher seas mean more flooding, particularly in low-lying coastal areas like Ocean City. According to research by Climate Central, Ocean City, New Jersey, experienced 125 more flood days between 2005 and 2014 than between 1995-2004.

    Tidal flooding from sea-level rise continues to grow worse, said NOAA oceanographer William Sweet. “This year [2019] will be a record-breaker, but the fact of the matter is that last year was a record-breaker in many of the same areas, and the year before was a record-breaker, and the year before that was a record-breaker and the year before that,” Sweet said. “That is the sea-level rise story.”

    ‘You’re ruining my quality of life.’

    After its founding, the Ocean City, NJ Flooding Committee grew in size and influence. During peak vacation times, residents displayed lawn signs that read “Fix our flooding now.” They sent letters and sought press coverage. Hornick became a fixture at city meetings, where she blamed local officials for not acting to stop the flooding.

    “The relationship between my group and the city got very contentious,” Hornick said. She was angry. She was loud. She got kicked out of meetings.

    “When you’re ruining my life and my quality of life, I’m going to be not happy,” she recalled.

    Her relationship with city officials easily might have stayed that way – angry. But then Hornick was introduced to the American Geophysical Union’s Thriving Earth Exchange program, which connects communities with scientists to help solve local problems. (ISeeChange, a partner on this story, is also a partner of Thriving Earth Exchange.)

    Through the program, Hornick’s group teamed up with researcher Tom Herrington, the director of the Urban Coast Institute at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey. That changed everything.

    “When Tom came in, he was able to sit down with us in a meeting and bridge that gap between the city and my group and make it more amicable,” Hornick said. “Because of that, we have a voice in our city government.”

    According to Hornick, what has made Herrington particularly helpful is that he grew up in Ocean City.

    “It’s not like a scientist just coming in and saying, well, I have empirical knowledge that I can impart to you people,” Hornick said. “Tom says, ‘Oh I remember that on 52nd Street. I know those trees. I understand that current and how it hits the bulkheads by the airport because I lived there.'”

    Armed with a deep understanding of the community, Herrington worked with Hornick to encourage community members to document the flooding that they were seeing. He helped distribute a handful of rain gauges across the island and explained the threats of sea-level rise and possible solutions at community meetings.

    The result, Hornick says, is that the city has been forced to make changes.

    Approximately $25 million has been invested in stormwater reconstruction projects on the island already, and the city has budgeted another $25 million in the next five years for more stormwater projects.

    Peter Madden, city council president and local real estate broker, agreed that the relationship between Hornick’s group and the city has improved, but he said that the city was heading in this direction before the group got involved.

    “The city’s done a very diligent job on trying to work with FEMA, work with flood mitigation, work with everyone on the island so that we can preserve everything that we have as long as we can,” he said. “The flood group is nice, they do a very nice job, but they haven’t really made a huge impact on anything that the city wasn’t already doing.”

    Hornick argues that before her committee got involved, there was no evidence that the city would take action.

    But no matter who deserves the credit – or blame – the new projects seem to have reduced flooding on some parts of the island. This fall, when East Coast users of the ISeeChange weather tracking app reported major high tides and flooding, the street in front of Hornick’s house remained dry.

    In fact, Hornick says her street hasn’t flooded in more than a year.

    Work remains to be done in Ocean City. For one thing, just because that infrastructure is working now doesn’t mean it will be able to handle even higher seas and more intense rain. So scientist Herrington is talking with community members about options such as adding more green space to the island and installing living shorelines, which rely on natural elements like marshes and oyster reefs to buffer the waves.

    Hornick believes that the lessons her community has learned can translate to other places dealing with coastal flooding.

    She recommends that other coastal communities first find out what they don’t know by connecting with experts and scientists like Herrington – ideally those who already have a relationship to the community. Then, she said, gather data via stories and photos of flooding alongside rain totals to create a concrete record of the issue. Once citizens have a good sense of the problem, she said, it’s time to go public with it.

    These days, Hornick estimates that she spends 25-30 hours a week on the Ocean City, NJ Flooding Committee and that it used to be twice as much.

    “But it’s OK. Somebody’s got to do it,” she said. “We’ve got to make this right, and we can.”

    Source:  https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/03/how-an-ocean-city-nj-woman-is-fighting-back-against-sea-level-rise/

    Produced in partnership with ISeeChange.


  • Friday, March 20, 2020 2:33 PM | Gregory Westfall (Administrator)

    Dubuque is the oldest city in Iowa. But when Jon Dienst took the city council on a trolley ride 10 years ago, it was not to admire historic sites. They looked at alleys.

    Dienst is a civil engineer for Dubuque. He wanted to show the city council how to re-pave the alleys in a way that could help prevent flooding in nearby homes and businesses.

    Dienst says the city faces increasingly heavy downpours.

    “It’s been wreaking havoc in areas of downtown,” he says.

    So the city council decided to start repaving its old alleys with interlocking concrete pavers. They look historic but have a modern twist: tiny holes that allow water to seep through into a layer of crushed stone.

    “And that’s what holds and stores that water and then slowly releases it,” Dienst says.

    He says that after the first six or seven alleys were completed, city residents began calling and asking to have their alleys re-paved, too.

    “And so we got some momentum and we started getting interest,” he says.

    Dubuque has now reconstructed about 80 alleys and plans to finish more than 200 within the next 20 years.

    That’s expected to reduce stormwater runoff from the alleys by 80% – helping prepare the city for the future while maintaining its historic charm.

    https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/03/dubuque-iowa-has-a-clever-solution-for-its-flooding-problem/

  • Thursday, March 12, 2020 4:08 PM | Gregory Westfall (Administrator)

    Floods are the leading cause of natural disaster losses in the United States.  Understanding the vulnerability of people and the built environment is an important first step to minimize impacts from the next flood.  ASFPM has recently published a free three-part comprehensive guide for elected officials.  And, while it may seem challenging, flood management boils down to protecting people and property.  This flood risk guide walks elected officials through the key information they need to know to meet that responsibility.  The ASFPM Foundation partnered with ASFPM in the development of this guide.

    The Guide for Elected Officials in broken down into three volumes:

    Volume I:       The Essentials

    Learn the essentials that elected officials need to know about flood risk in their community.

    Volume II:      Moving Beyond the Essentials

    Takes a deeper dive into property protection, flood insurance, managing and strengthening local flood management programs, and more.

    Volume III:     Success Stories

    Explore case studies and interviews from a variety of communities nationwide that successfully tackled flood mitigation.

    Wise flood management provides the means to address communities’ flood problems before, during, and after an event as well as create sustainable development for future generations.  The new publication, “A Guide for Elected Officials” can be found on the ASFPM website by clicking here.


  • Thursday, March 12, 2020 4:05 PM | Gregory Westfall (Administrator)

    Remarks by Chairwoman Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ)

    Good afternoon, and welcome to the Environment Subcommittee’s first hearing of 2020. This is my first hearing since taking over the Subcommittee Chairmanship from my colleague and friend, Ms. Fletcher. I am looking forward to continuing the bipartisan work of this Subcommittee with Ranking Member Marshall on issues related to the environment, climate change, and weather research; issues that are critical to New Jersey, and to the country. This is also a joint Subcommittee hearing with the Investigations & Oversight Subcommittee, and I would like to welcome my fellow    Chair Dr. Foster and Ranking Member Mr. Norman.

    The focus of today’s hearing is painfully salient in New Jersey, a historically flood-prone state.  New Jersey is a place where both coastal and inland communities have unfortunately had to deal with extensive flooding events, and as a result actively invest in understanding and mitigating these flood risks. In my district, towns such as Pequannock, Little Falls, Woodland Park, Pompton Lakes, and Wayne that experience some of the most extreme flooding, work hard to protect their residents with measures like home buy-outs, elevations, dredging waterways, and even flying drones to proactively identify flood hazards in rivers. They appreciate that the National Flood Insurance Program is a critical part of providing this protection to communities and are committed to partner with you to get the science underlying the FEMA flood mapping process right.

    Assessments of flood risk today must consider that climate change is accelerating rates of sea level rise, intense heavy rains, and other extreme weather events, creating flooding patterns distinct and more damaging than norms of the past. And it’s not just New Jersey and coastal communities, as Ranking Member Marshall knows too well; inland states faced billions of dollars of damage from extreme wet conditions consistent with climate change last year, with a similar forecast just released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for the coming year for the Mississippi River and Great Plains basin.

    The FEMA flood maps are intended to determine insurance rates for one year ahead and set building standards for the floodplain. Despite this intention, the reality is that homeowners and local governments continue to use the maps to make both short- and long- term decisions like buying a home, choosing a mortgage, and planning adaptation measures to deal with the future flooding events. Given the public need, we must ensure that the most up to date science of predicting flood risk is accessible in a centralized, accurate, and easy-to-understand way.

    While we are primarily focused today on supporting inter-agency efforts in federal flood mapping, I also want to emphasize the importance of incorporating “on-the-ground” community feedback into the FEMA flood mapping process. My understanding from local officials and constituents in my district is that providing such input can be onerous, expensive, and frustrating. We have, for example, a case in Pequannock where scientific models adopted by an approved FEMA Cooperating Technical Partner in New Jersey have not been admitted into a remapping appeals process. And instances of delays in resolutions that put homeowners and our communities in a flood map limbo, affecting their ability to sell homes, make improvements to their property, and move forward on important municipal planning decisions. I believe this local expertise is critical to getting the science of our flood maps right, and want to understand how we

    can best support FEMA’s efforts to partner with communities, not only in New Jersey but across the country, to incorporate local scientific expertise efficiently and in a common-sense way.

    In this hearing, I hope we can have a constructive conversation about how agencies can leverage their unique capabilities and local information to improve the science and communication around flood risk. While FEMA is the expert in administering disaster aid and mitigating risk on the floodplain, science agencies like NOAA are hard at work collecting data on flood-prone environments, developing state-of-the-art models, and generating forecasts, maps, and other communications. I hope that we can find interagency synergies that improve the science and get it out there into communities where it is sorely needed. And science is only one part of the solution, as the other committees of jurisdiction working hard on flood mitigation know well. In fact, this morning, I submitted a statement for the record to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for their Member Day hearing outlining my district’s priorities related to the development of the Water Resources Development Act, or WRDA, which included the need to address flood risk. I am pleased to welcome our distinguished panel to today’s hearing. They will provide the perspective of both the federal government and on-the-ground experts.  For an accounting of all the witness testimony go to:

    https://science.house.gov/hearings/an-examination-of-federal-flood-maps-in-a-changing-climate


  • Friday, February 28, 2020 6:18 PM | Gregory Westfall (Administrator)


    This notification is to advise that FEMA has posted new files on the FEMA website for the Elevation Certificate and the Floodproofing Certificate for Non-Residential Structures that reflect a new expiration date of November 30, 2022.

    You may access the forms at the following locations on the FEMA website:

    • The file labeled Elevation Certificate Form Only is a fillable form.

    Until further notice, since the only change to each form is the form expiration date, for NFIP insurance purposes the prior form with an expiration date of November 30, 2018, is acceptable and can be used for policy rating. 

    For any questions relating to this memo, please contact the NFIP Bureau and Statistical Agent at NFIPUnderwritingMailbox@fema.dhs.gov 


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