Workshop: ABCs of Community Flood Mitigation August 11, 2017 in Biloxi

The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program, in conjunction with the American Planning Association chapter for the state of Mississippi, is planning an event from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 11, to discuss the topic of flood mitigation at the community level. The workshop will be held in Biloxi at the city’s community development building, at 676 Martin Luther King Blvd., and is free and open to the public. Floodplain managers who decide to attend will be eligible for 3.5 continuing education credits, and AICP credits for local planners are pending approval.

You can view the meeting agenda here.

The main headliner of the flood mitigation workshop is Dan Petrolia, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Mississippi State University. With funding from Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant, Dan was able to complete a comprehensive study looking at whether participation in the Community Ratings System (CRS) had any effect on flood resilience. The study also looked at the individual CRS activity series and categories to see which ones had a strong correlation to higher participation in the National Flood Insurance Program.

For communities who are currently in CRS or may be looking to enter the program, the data from this study should provide useful guidance on possible directions to take in the future for flood outreach and mitigation.      

The workshop will also feature two guest speakers: Niki Pace and Eric Sparks. Niki Pace, with the Louisiana Sea Grant Law & Policy Program, will be on hand to discuss the Program for Public Information, which was put in place under the 2013 CRS Coordinators Manual. The presentation in question will mainly highlight two efforts underway to implement a Program for Public Information: one in Mississippi and the other in Louisiana.

The final presentation of the day will be from Eric Sparks, who is the coastal ecology specialist with the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and an extension professor with Mississippi State University. His presentation will highlight his extensive work on living shorelines and provide valuable facts and information on how local organizations and homeowners can go about implementing their own living shoreline projects and what type of benefits these projects can provide. 

Anyone who wishes to learn more about the workshop, or to confirm their attendance for Aug. 11, can email me at scdeal@olemiss.edu. This event will be a great opportunity to learn about the ways in which flooding concerns drive local policy and how communities craft ordinances and other policy mechanisms to lay the groundwork for proactive flood mitigation.

Great places grow and evolve over time to meet the unique challenges of their natural environment, and that principle is no less true when it come to responding to the threats posed by flooding. I hope you will be able to join us as we explore the basic tools and techniques that communities can pursue to better prepare themselves for future flooding events.   

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