*JOINT HEARING with the Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery* “Flood Preparedness and Mitigation: Map Modernization, Levee Inspection, and Levee Repairs”

Date: July 28, 2010
Time: 3:00pm
Location: Dirksen Senate Office Building SD-342

The purpose of this hearing was to evaluate preparedness and mitigation efforts among flood-prone communities and responsible federal agencies, by evaluating the accuracy of the FEMA flood map modernization process, its impact on states and localities, mechanisms for dispute resolution, and the impact of levee inspections and certifications on determinations of flood risk. Since the epic failure of the federal levees in New Orleans in August 2005, additional levee failures occurred during the Midwest floods in 2008 and the historic spring floods earlier this year in Rhode Island and Tennessee. On March 18, 2010, 16 Senators signed a letter to FEMA and the Corps of Engineers citing challenges in the ongoing flood map modernization process. Among the areas listed were: a lack of communication and outreach with local stakeholders; a lack of coordination between FEMA and USACE in answering questions about both flood mapping, flood insurance and flood control infrastructure repairs; a lack of recognition of locally funded flood control projects when determining flood zones; the affordability of flood insurance; inadequate time and resources to complete repairs to flood control structures before flood maps are finalized; and potential impacts new flood maps might have on economic development. This hearing provided an opportunity for the subcommittee to evaluate mapping methodologies and map dispute resolution mechanisms, hear suggestions for improved outreach to local residents and stakeholders, and determine options for local governments to finance levee inspections and repairs.

Member Statements


Mary L.


(D -


Mark L.


(D -