Title

Floods on the Susquehanna: Small River Towns’ Flood Mitigation and Response Strategies Reshape their Land Uses and Urban Centers

Item Type

Presentation

Location

Elaine Langone Center, Terrace Room

Session

Conservation, Planning, and River Towns, moderator Ben Marsh

Start Date

12-11-2014 3:15 PM

End Date

12-11-2014 4:00 PM

Description

In much of the U.S., planning, policies, actions, and decisions for flood mitigation, damage reduction, and public safety are made by municipal governments. Federal and State guidelines, incentives, grants, restrictions and regulations have developed to guide municipalities; and also have planned, funded, and constructed many large-scale systems. As a result the actual actions and decisions for flood management – and their effectiveness – vary enormously from one location to another. This research investigates the local flood strategies for a case study of two small municipalities: Milton and Lewisburg, PA. The two boroughs have similar social history, economic development, and local government structure; and share a single hydrologic unit of a river with a well-documented history of high-flow events. The research objective was to characterize flood mitigation strategies in the two boroughs, including current policy approaches; actions and policy decisions from previous decades; and land use changes from flood mitigation efforts. Research methods included interviews with municipal personnel; local archives and records; State and Federal archives; and GIS land-use data. Findings show a surprising degree of differences. Lewisburg has promoted acquisition of certain properties flood-prone areas, in successive small actions over decades, using Federal and State funding in pulses after disaster events. Milton accepted massive Federal funding after 1972 Agnes flooding, spurring profound land-use changes, and does not partake of further property acquisitions. Instead Milton applies building-code procedures that encourage “smart flood-proofing” (water-resistant building materials, specified elevation of occupied stories, elevation of utilities and furnaces, etc). Future research will use these results to analyze ways in which Federal and State programs and policies influence local programs; ways in which local policies and decisions conform to, promote, or conflict with priorities of Federal and State policies for flood mitigation; and ways in which Federal and State programs and restrictions promote, or conflict with, local preferences and policies not only for flood mitigation but also for economic development, preservation of historic districts, recreational land use, and others.

Language

eng

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Nov 12th, 3:15 PM Nov 12th, 4:00 PM

Floods on the Susquehanna: Small River Towns’ Flood Mitigation and Response Strategies Reshape their Land Uses and Urban Centers

Elaine Langone Center, Terrace Room

In much of the U.S., planning, policies, actions, and decisions for flood mitigation, damage reduction, and public safety are made by municipal governments. Federal and State guidelines, incentives, grants, restrictions and regulations have developed to guide municipalities; and also have planned, funded, and constructed many large-scale systems. As a result the actual actions and decisions for flood management – and their effectiveness – vary enormously from one location to another. This research investigates the local flood strategies for a case study of two small municipalities: Milton and Lewisburg, PA. The two boroughs have similar social history, economic development, and local government structure; and share a single hydrologic unit of a river with a well-documented history of high-flow events. The research objective was to characterize flood mitigation strategies in the two boroughs, including current policy approaches; actions and policy decisions from previous decades; and land use changes from flood mitigation efforts. Research methods included interviews with municipal personnel; local archives and records; State and Federal archives; and GIS land-use data. Findings show a surprising degree of differences. Lewisburg has promoted acquisition of certain properties flood-prone areas, in successive small actions over decades, using Federal and State funding in pulses after disaster events. Milton accepted massive Federal funding after 1972 Agnes flooding, spurring profound land-use changes, and does not partake of further property acquisitions. Instead Milton applies building-code procedures that encourage “smart flood-proofing” (water-resistant building materials, specified elevation of occupied stories, elevation of utilities and furnaces, etc). Future research will use these results to analyze ways in which Federal and State programs and policies influence local programs; ways in which local policies and decisions conform to, promote, or conflict with priorities of Federal and State policies for flood mitigation; and ways in which Federal and State programs and restrictions promote, or conflict with, local preferences and policies not only for flood mitigation but also for economic development, preservation of historic districts, recreational land use, and others.