Nearly 200 people attended an evening meeting Monday, July 24, 2017 at Christensen Field to learn the results of a recent flood risk management study conducted by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The purpose of the study was to determine how much money in potential losses and damages a levee would prevent and what a levee around Fremont would cost. This calculation is called a benefit to cost ratio (BCR). Here is what the study revealed:
- The total of potential losses and damages from a flood to the at-risk properties (identified by the yellow dots on the map) is $60 million.
- After looking at three different levee designs, the lowest cost levee was estimated at $136 million.
That yields a BCR of .44 ($60/$136). In order to qualify for federal assistance, the levee BCR must be 1 or greater. That means the levee must cost less than $60 million before we would be eligible for federal assistance. It doesn’t mean Fremont couldn’t build its own levee, it simply means the Federal Government won’t help fund it.
Two other things discussed at the meeting were:
- Why has my property been identified as “at-risk” flood property, though I’m not in the floodplain?
- What are some of the measures homeowners and businesses can do to lessen their risk of flood losses and damages? Will these measures lower the cost of flood insurance?
The map shown here is NOT the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood plain map. The yellow dots do NOT mean the property is in a flood plain and subject to flood insurance. Instead, the map is a two-dimensional model created by the US Army Corps of Engineers to represent properties that are at-risk of flooding. So…if the US Army Corps of Engineers has determined more properties at-risk of flooding, will FEMA follow suit? MAYBE, but we won’t know until the new FEMA floodplain maps are updated, which won’t be for five to seven years.
The bulk of the meeting was to discuss some measures that homeowners and businesses can do to decrease losses and damages from a flood. They include:
Elevation: means raising the building to at least one foot above the base flood elevation.
Wet floodproofing: involves making a series of modifications to uninhabitable portions of a structure to allow an enclosed area below the base flood elevation to flood through use of openings (e.g. vents) or breakaway walls, which are designed to break free from the building when subjected to flood forces.
Dry floodproofing: the structure is made watertight below the level that needs flood protection to prevent floodwaters from entering. Making the structure watertight requires sealing the walls with waterproof coatings, impermeable membranes, or a supplemental layer of masonry or concrete.
Filling the basement: The last nonstructural method is to simply fill the basement to remove the risk.
What does this mean for Fremont?
- Without Federal assistance, it’s doubtful if we can afford to build a certified levee. (The existing levee is not a certified levee)
- The floodplain area is likely to expand, meaning more homes and businesses will be located in the floodplain when FEMA updates its maps in 5 to 7 years.
- The City must partner with the US Army Corps of Engineers so at-risk homeowners and businesses can qualify for nonstructural measures. If approved by Congress, the Federal government would fund (65%) of the nonstructural measures made to at-risk homes and businesses. The homeowner or business must fund the balance or 35% of the nonstructural measures made. Nonstructural measures are voluntary for qualifying homeowners or businesses. You decide if the program is right for you.
Information from the meeting can be found in the links below. For questions regarding flood risk management strategies, please call 402-727-2630. To discuss whether or not Fremont should partner with the US Corps of Engineers so at-risk homeowners and businesses can qualify for non-structural flood risk management measures, please contact your city council member.
Flood Risk Management Feasibility Study (Power Point from US Army Corps of Engineers)
National Flood Insurance Program (Power Point from Nebraska Department of Natural Resources)
Non-structural Flood Risk Management Handout
Non-structural Flood Proofing Committee Handout
Comment Form - Non-structural Flood Risk Reduction Measures