Thursday, May 12, 2011

How Flowage Easements may end the NFIP?

Flowage easements allow the USACOE to periodically innundate not just agricultural land but also improved real estate and are designed to allow preservation of levees and other flood control structures during high water. The issue of prohibiting the issuance of NFIP insurance on flowage easements was addressed by me during my time in FEMA--1979-1999 and even before in HUD from 1974-1979! Not only was I opposed by those adminstering the NFIP but even the USACOE opposed such a prohibiton. As with areas behind levees, the NFIP maps never showed flowage easements. Now like Hurricane Katrina and its collapsed floodwalls in NOLA many claims may well be paid on insured real estate and further undermine the NFIP solvency.

Those who have followed my blogs and suggestions for NFIP reform know that I have continuously suggested that areas containing unmapped hazards have NO AVAILABILTY of NFIP insurance.

Since the NFIP by law is prohibited from subsidizing structural protection works means that the NFIP should send the bill for any payments to the USACOE as part of the costs of the USACOE opening the Bird's Point Floodway Levees and the Morganza Spillway.

Clear documentation of my efforts exist in NFIP rulemaking files because the exclusion for flowage easements actually made it into proposed rulemaking even though not finally adopted.

Another case where I would argue that program administrators had no real understanding of the NFIP or the fact that it is a LANDUSE program not an INSURANCE program.

And sympathy to those impacted by the opening of the various spillways and levee systems.

I also understand the Old River Control Structure has been partially opened to protect that structure. Time will tell but all should know that in the last 5000 years the actual outlet of the Mississippi river has wandered/meandered from the TEXAS border to the Mississippi STATE border.