The following Panel requests have been submitted to the Institute.

FEMA Panels

Community Panels

Panel ID:
SCCTKI100418
Panel Name:
Town of Kiawah Island, Charleston County, SC
Panel Request Date:
2018-10-04
FEMA Region:
IV
Community Request Summary:

Two appeals of the preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Map (dated September 9, 2016), for the Town of Kiawah Island, SC, were submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in transmittals dated March 22 and April 10, 2018. The appeals were prepared by Francis Way, Coastal Engineer, Applied Technology & Management Inc., (ATM) on behalf of Ray Pantlik, Kiawah Partners. These appeals involved two separate locations on the western end of Kiawah Island. The first area, designated “Cape Charles”, includes approximately 6,600 feet of undeveloped shoreline on the Atlantic Ocean. The second, designated “Kiawah Beach Club”, is a developed area that includes approximately 400 feet of shoreline further to the east. The bases for these appeals were revised coastal analyses prepared by ATM using updated and more accurate topographic data than was used for the FEMA study. Although the ATM study included reanalysis of Base Flood Elevations based on updated wave-height and wave-runup analyses, ATM concluded that results were similar to those on the preliminary FIRM. Thus, the SRP review is being sought to render a determination on whether floodplain zone delineations, should be revised based on the appellants proposed re-identification of the Primary Frontal Dune (PFD) location.

By letters dated September 7, 2018, FEMA denied the appeals. In the case of the Kiawah Beach Club site, FEMA determined that its designation of the shoreline area between the ocean and the most landward, historic dune heel was at the appropriate macrotopographic scale for delineation of the Coastal High Hazard Area (Zone VE). The appellant’s proposed relocation of the VE zone boundary, based on the more shoreward and more recently deposited dune material, was rejected because FEMA considered it to be a microtopographic feature, contrary to FEMA’s “Best Practices” guidance of February 2014. In the case of the Cape Charles site, FEMA determined that a mound-type PFD, with multiple ridges, exists in this area and that it is more appropriate to locate the Zone VE boundary at the most landward dune heel in accordance with the Coastal Guidelines Update issued by FEMA in February 2007.

 

Panel Decision Date:
Panel Decision Summary:
Panel Report:
Panel Members:
FEMA Final Determination Date:
FEMA Determination Summary:
Panel ID:
NJWTPC021717
Panel Name:
Wayne Township, Passaic County, NJ
Panel Request Date:
2017-02-17
FEMA Region:
II
Panel Convened:
October 15, 2018
Community Request Summary:

By letter dated January 26, 2016, the Township of Wayne, New Jersey appealed the base flood elevations (BFEs), Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) determinations, and floodway delineations, as proposed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on the preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Map for Passaic County, New Jersey dated January 9, 2015.

The appeal was supported by a report and associated data sets, dated January 26, 2016, prepared by the consulting firm of GEA Environmental Consultants, Inc. (GEA). The appeal contends that the proposed BFEs, SFHAs, and floodways are incorrect because: 1. FEMA’s hydraulic model of the Passaic River system was incorrectly calibrated to ratings at four river gaging stations operated by the U.S. Geological Survey; and 2. FEMA’s hydraulic model of the Passaic River system did not optimize the floodway determination or properly represent ineffective flow areas, flow obstructions, or friction losses. GEA prepared an alternative hydraulic analysis for part of the area that was submitted with the appeal. The Township of Wayne also submitted additional data prepared by Storm Water Management Consulting, LLC (SWMC), prepared for General Growth Properties, Inc., that also supported the first appeal contention described above.

By letter dated January 23, 2017, FEMA responded to the appeal. With regard to the first contention, FEMA concurred that the hydraulic model was incorrectly calibrated to the gaging station ratings because the datum (NGVD 1929) used for the rating curves was not corrected to the datum (NAVD 1988) used in the Flood Insurance Study. FEMA recalibrated the model and incorporated the changes into a revised preliminary FIRM transmitted to the Township with the January 23 letter. With regard to the second contention, FEMA determined that the alternative hydraulic analysis submitted by GEA was unacceptable due to its use of an incorrect natural-conditions model and violation of the State of New Jersey’s floodway criteria. However FEMA did make refinements to the hydraulic model based on the data submitted by SWMC, which narrowed the floodway delineation. The revised floodway was also incorporated into the revised preliminary FIRM transmitted to the Township on January 23.

Attachment A to the Township’s SRP request identifies 3 specific aspects of the revised hydraulic model which it contends were not adequately addressed in the FEMA appeal response. These outstanding issues, and their original appeals-report reference, include: 1. arbitrary designation of ineffective flow areas (Section 2.3.3); 2. incorrect modeling of flow obstructions (Section 2.3.4); and 3. inappropriate selection of friction loss coefficients (Manning’s n-values) (Section 2.3.6).

Panel Decision Date:
Panel Decision Summary:
Panel Report:
Panel Members:
  • Ms. Carolyn Gilligan, PE
  • Mr. Terry Hull, Engineering/multiple states
  • Dr. Vijay Singh
  • Dr. David Williams, PE (in CE), CFM, PH, D.WRE, CPESC, F.ASCE
  • Mr. Andrew Yung, Professional Engineer/Texas
FEMA Final Determination Date:
FEMA Determination Summary:
Panel ID:
CASMC120916
Panel Name:
San Mateo County, CA
Panel Request Date:
2016-12-09
FEMA Region:
IX
Panel Convened:
January 4, 2018
Community Request Summary:

By letters dated August 23, 2016 from the City of San Bruno, and August 24, 2016 from the City of South San Francisco, both cities appealed base flood elevations (BFEs) and Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) determinations for some areas, as proposed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on the preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Map, for San Mateo County, California dated August 13, 2015.

The appeals were supported by two reports (one for each city) and associated data sets, dated August 19, 2016, prepared by the consulting firm Moffatt & Nichol (M&N). Both appeal reports were based upon the same data and analyses. The appeals contend that the proposed BFEs and SFHAs are scientifically incorrect because FEMA’s methodology did not take into consideration the unsteady-flow conditions of flood waters moving from San Francisco Bay overland and through channels to more inland areas of the Cities. The FEMA analysis utilized 1% annual-chance flood elevations at the Bay shoreline to establish BFEs and the inland extent of the SFHA. The appellants further contend that the duration of flood events in the Bay is too short to utilize this approach. M&N prepared an alternative hydrodynamic analysis, to consider flood duration and terrain effects on flooding in inland areas, based on an unsteady, 2-dimensional, XPSWMM flow model. M&N utilized the hydrograph from the February 1998 flood event, scaled up to peak at FEMA’s BFE at the Bay coastline, as an input condition for their model. 

FEMA rejected the appeal on the following technical bases:

1. The M&N analysis “…did not provide any calibration or comparative analysis between measured data and computed results…” and thus, the XPSWMM model “…cannot be verified as being able to replicate the surge and tidal inundation processes…”

2. The single-event hydrograph used in the M&N analysis was “based on storm data recorded at the NOAA Alameda gage…more representative local gage measurements….along the western bay shoreline were not used…”

3. The M&N analysis is “event based”, relying on an assumed flood-hydrograph shape and duration at the Bay shoreline as a boundary condition for their XPSWMM flow model to determine the 1% annual-chance flood response for overland-flow conditions. Instead, the appeal “should have” simulated inland flooding for each of the 54-years of data from FEMA’s hindcast study to determine annual flood-elevation maxima and then applied statistical analysis to determine the 1% annual-chance flood elevations.

Panel Decision Date:
2018-04-30
Panel Decision Summary:

Based on the submitted scientific and technical information, and within the limitations of the charge to this Scientific Resolution Panel (SRP or panel), the panel has determined that the appeal does not conclusively support or identify the presence of scientific errors in the preliminary flood hazard study and Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). Therefore, this panel recommends that the appeals by both the City of San Bruno and the City of South San Francisco be denied. The data submitted by the communities do not satisfy the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) standards, thus the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) data are not corrected, contradicted, or negated.

Panel Report:
https://portal.nibs.org/files/wl/?id=kQLuMBT3n5wPcdXn5cM2VrdmJSzLUags
Panel Members:
  • Mr. Michael Giovannozzi, PE
  • Mr. Terry Hull, Engineering/multiple states
  • Dr. David Kriebel, PE Virginia, PE Alaska
  • Dr. Malcolm Spaulding, Professional Engineer
  • Dr. Bret Webb
FEMA Final Determination Date:
2018-10-05
FEMA Determination Summary:

The Panel determined that the appeals by both the City of San Bruno and the City of South San Francisco be denied and that the data submitted by the communities does not satisfy NFIP standards. Thus, the FEMA data presented in the preliminary Flood Insurance Study and Flood Insurance Rate Map for San Mateo County, CA were not corrected, contradicted, or negated, therefore, no changes were warranted prior to finalizing the San Mateo Bay Coastal Study. The Letter of Final Determination (LFD) for the San Mateo County, CA flood study, which includes the City of San Bruno and the City of South San Francisco was issued on October 05, 2018. These maps will then take effect on April 05, 2019.

Panel ID:
NHRR030916
Panel Name:
Rye, Rockingham County, NH
Panel Request Date:
2016-03-09
FEMA Region:
I
Panel Convened:
October 21, 2016

Panel Decision Due Date:
February 20, 2017
Community Request Summary:

By letter dated November 28, 2014, and numerous subsequent communications and data submissions, the Town of Rye, NH appealed base flood elevation (BFE) and Coastal High Hazard Area (Zone VE) determinations proposed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the vicinity of Transect TR-39, as shown on the preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), Panel 432, dated April 9, 2014.

There are two technical elements of the appeal. The first was a request to lower BFEs based on a restudy of wave setup, runup, and overtopping using SWAN 1-D modeling. The restudy was conducted by Woods Hole Group, a firm contracted by Edward O’Meara, a property owner in the affected area. FEMA accepted this element of the appeal.

The second element of the appeal contested the extent of the mapped VE zone (and its corresponding BFE) based upon FEMA’s alleged misidentification of a Primary Frontal Dune (PFD) in this area.  FEMA mapping procedures and regulations define a Coastal High Hazard Area (V-Zone) as “an area of special flood hazard extending from offshore to the inland limit of a primary frontal dune along an open coast and any other area subject to high velocity wave action from storms or seismic sources” (44 CFR Part 59.1). FEMA regulations (44 CFR Part 59.1) also define a primary frontal dune as “…a continuous or nearly continuous mound or ridge of sand with relatively steep seaward and landward slopes immediately landward and adjacent to the beach and subject to erosion and overtopping from high tides and waves during major coastal storms. The inland limit of the primary frontal dune occurs at the point where there is a distinct change from a relatively steep slope to a relatively mild slope.” FEMA mapping procedures also require that “In all cases where the PFD is the basis of the VE Zone, the BFE to be applied will be the wave height or wave runup elevation encountered at the dune face…” (FEMA, 2007. “Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico Coastal Guidelines Update”, Section 2.11.2.1 VE Zone).

Field reconnaissance and LiDAR-based topographic data, obtained by the Woods Hole Group, were submitted by the appellant to support its position that a PFD no longer exists in this area, presumably as a result of previous extensive development activity. The appellant also states that the NH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) has not identified a dune resource in this vicinity.

FEMA rejected this second element of the appeal on the basis that “The PFD delineation for the subject area originated from a regional approach, including examination of overall coastal morphology between FIS Transects 36 and 43. While the area does not exhibit typical dune features as a result of development patterns, topographic profiles generated from LiDAR substantiate the presence of a dune footprint.” 

Panel Decision Date:
2017-01-23
Panel Decision Summary:

Based on the submitted scientific and technical information, and within the limitations of the Scientific Resolution Panel, the Panel has determined that the Town of Rye, Rockingham County, NH data and methodology does not satisfy NFIP standards, therefore FEMA’s data is not corrected, contradicted, or negated.

Panel Report:
https://portal.nibs.org/files/wl/?id=qvhJD9KBq0f7gXbFHeYHk01aR2c4NT4r
Panel Members:
  • Dr. Rafael Canizares
  • Mr. Michael Giovannozzi, PE
  • Dr. David Kriebel, PE Virginia, PE Alaska
  • Mr. Spencer Rogers
  • Dr. Elizabeth Sciaudone, Florida P.E.
FEMA Final Determination Date:
FEMA Determination Summary:
Panel ID:
ORWB080414
Panel Name:
Beaverton, Washington County, OR
Panel Request Date:
2014-08-04
FEMA Region:
X
Panel Convened:
July 2, 2015
Community Request Summary:

By letter dated February 4, 2013 the City of Beaverton,Washington County, Oregon appealed the base (one-percent annual chance) flood elevations (BFEs) proposed by FEMA for Beaverton Creek and the North Fork Hall Creek, as shown on the preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), dated December 4, 2009. Technical data for this appeal was developed by Lewis G. Scholl, PE,
as documented in his letter to the City of January 28, 2013.

The appeal contests several aspects of the hydrologic and hydraulic modeling used on these flooding sources. In particular, Mr. Scholl contends that:

  1. Based on local rainfall data and soil moisture conditions, the November 19, 1996 flood was equal to, or exceeded, a one-percent annual chance event on these flooding sources. However, flood elevations experienced in the event were significantly lower than those proposed by FEMA. High water marks set by Mr. Scholl after the flood event on the North Fork Hall Creek at the Beaverton Transit Center, and on Beaverton Creek at Cedar Hills Boulevard, are 2.54 and 2.83 feet lower, respectively, than the FEMA-proposed BFEs at      these locations.

  2. The HEC-HMS hydrologic model used to calculate flood discharges for these flooding sources was not properly calibrated because unpublished rainfall and streamflow data for the Beaverton Creek watershed were not utilized, resulting in the overestimation of flood discharges.

  3. The HEC-HMS hydrologic model may not have adequately considered flood-flow attenuation due to upstream wetlands and impoundments by culverts.

  4. The HEC-RAS hydraulic model used to calculate flood elevations for these flooding sources was not properly calibrated because unpublished high-water mark data collected by Mr. Scholl for the November 19, 1996 flood and unpublished data for the Cedar Hills gage operated by Clean Water Services were not utilized.

  5. The hydraulic modeling of the North Fork Hall Creek is incorrect because the box culvert under the MAX track was not properly represented in the model.
Panel Decision Date:
2015-11-02
Panel Decision Summary:
Based on the submitted scientific and technical information, and within the limitations of the Scientific Resolution Panel (SRP), the SRP has determined that the Community's data does not satisfy NFIP standards, thus FEMA's data is not corrected, contradicted, or negated.
Panel Report:
https://portal.nibs.org/files/wl/?id=I8yKQ2BT3BOePITwrqxvCl6aUiGhODSL
Panel Members:
  • Dr. Lee Azimi, P.E.
  • Mr. Jonathan Fuller, P.E., R.G., P.H., D.WRE, CFM
  • Ms. Carolyn Gilligan, PE
  • Dr. David Williams, PE (in CE), CFM, PH, D.WRE, CPESC, F.ASCE
  • Mr. Tom Wright, P.E., C.F.M.
FEMA Final Determination Date:
FEMA Determination Summary:
Panel ID:
MAPC051914
Panel Name:
Plymouth County, MA
Panel Request Date:
2014-05-19
FEMA Region:
I
Community Request Summary:

By letters dated October 2, 2013 and October 15, 2013, the Towns of Scituate, MA and Marshfield, MA, respectively, submitted appeals of the preliminary revised Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) issued for Plymouth County, MA by FEMA on May 1, 2013. Despite the complexity involved in establishing coastal base flood elevations (BFEs), coastal high-hazard areas, and floodplain boundaries, these appeals are focused on narrow geographic locations and on a single technical issue. In Scituate, the appeal involves areas in the vicinity of coastal transects PL-40 and PL-49. In Marshfield the appeal involves areas in the vicinity of coastal transects PL-64 and PL-66. The technical issue in contention in both appeals is the incident wave height and wave period used to compute wave height, wave setup, and wave runup along these transects. The appellants, through their consultant, Ransom Consulting, Inc., contend that FEMA should not have used deep-water wave characteristics for these computations, but rather, wave characteristics that have been transformed by taking into account local refraction, diffraction, and bottom dissipation effects. Ransom conducted revised analyses for these transects that utilized incident wave characteristics selected from the STWAVE model prepared by STARR (FEMA’s consultant) for near-shore breaking conditions and then re-computed BFEs along these transects that are typically 2 feet lower than those proposed by FEMA. FEMA subsequently rejected the appeal on the basis that Ransom’s analyses applied breaking-wave parameters to a wave-setup computation method (the Direct Integration Method) which was developed for use with deep-water wave parameters.

Panel Decision Date:
2015-07-10
Panel Decision Summary:

Based on the submitted scientific and technical information, and within the limitations of the SRP, the Panel has determined that the Community’s (Scituate, MA and Marshfield, MA) data and methodology does not satisfy NFIP standards, therefore FEMA’s data is not corrected, contradicted, or negated.

 

Panel Report:
https://portal.nibs.org/files/wl/?id=9u9mgj8ktEfxK4gVvylEnRplmXn9BaEY
Panel Members:
  • Mr. Martin Brungard, P.E., D.WRE
  • Mr. Douglas Hamilton, P.E., D.WRE
  • Mr. John Lally, P.E.
  • Mr. Spencer Rogers
  • Mr. George Sills, P.E./MS and TX
FEMA Final Determination Date:
FEMA Determination Summary:
Panel ID:
TXHC051512
Panel Name:
Harris County, TX
Panel Request Date:
2012-05-15
FEMA Region:
VI
Community Request Summary:

By letter dated April 14, 2011, Brown & Gay Engineers (BGE), on behalf of Bridgeland Development, LP, submitted an appeal of the preliminary revised Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) issued for Harris County Texas by FEMA on September 30, 2010. Data for the preliminary revised FIRM was developed by the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD). BGE’s appeal was primarily focused on base flood elevations (BFEs) and floodplain boundaries proposed by FEMA for Cypress Creek, downstream of Katy-Hockley Road, in an area being developed by Bridgeland.

Panel Decision Date:
2012-12-06
Panel Decision Summary:

Based on the submitted scientific and technical information, and within the limitations of the Scientific Resolution Panel (SRP), the SRP has determined that the Community's (Bridgeland’s) data does not satisfy NFIP standards, thus FEMA's data is not corrected, contradicted, or negated.

Panel Report:
https://portal.nibs.org/files/wl/?id=iDWrZRsuXXeccS66pw39LlqOUfcCCZwC
Panel Members:
  • Dr. Lee Azimi, P.E.
  • Mr. Martin Brungard, P.E., D.WRE
  • Mr. John Miller, P.E., CFM, CSM
  • Dr. David Williams, PE (in CE), CFM, PH, D.WRE, CPESC, F.ASCE
  • Mr. Joseph Wilson, P.H., P.E.
FEMA Final Determination Date:
2013-01-14
FEMA Determination Summary:

The SRP findings demonstrated that the appeal data do not satisfy NFIP standards and that the FEMA data presented in the preliminary Flood Insurance Study (FIS) report and Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) have not been corrected, contradicted or negated.  Thus the SRP recommended that FEMA not incorporate the data into the ongoing Cypress Creek Physical Map Revision (PMR).

On January 14, 2013, FEMA issued letters to Harris County and the City of Houston communicating the path forward for the Cypress Creek PMR as follows:  FEMA reviewed the Panel’s Decision and Report, accepted the recommendation, and determined that the proposed flood hazards along Cypress Creek are accurate as shown in the preliminary FIS report and FIRM.  The next step in the mapping process is the issuance of a Letter of Final Determination (LFD).  The LFD is tentatively scheduled for April 16, 2013, and will establish the effective date for the FIS Report and FIRM.

Panel ID:
NVDC122811
Panel Name:
Douglas County, NV
Panel Request Date:
2011-12-28
FEMA Region:
IX
Community Request Summary:

By letter dated September 3, 2008, Douglas County, NV appealed the base flood elevations (BFEs) and base flood depths proposed by FEMA for multiple flooding sources as shown on the preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), dated April 4, 2008. After consultation between the two parties failed to resolve the appeal, on September 17, 2009, Douglas County filed suit against FEMA in U.S. District Court alleging that FEMA’s data and analyses were scientifically or technically incorrect (the sole statutory basis of appeal). On October 28, 2011, the parties entered into a Settlement Agreement calling for the adjudication of the appeal by a Scientific Resolution Panel (SRP) as described in FEMA Procedure Memorandum 58. Data that may be reviewed by the SRP are limited to that contained in Attachment 2 of the Settlement Agreement.

The appeal is complex in that many aspects of the hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, as well as the accuracy of LiDAR mapping, are contested for multiple flooding sources. In particular, the community, with support from various consultants, including Manhard Consulting Ltd., R.O. Anderson Engineering Inc., and Wood Rodgers Inc., has identified some 12 technical issues to be addressed by the SRP.

Panel Decision Date:
2012-07-16
Panel Decision Summary:

Based on the submitted scientific and technical information, and within the limitations of the SRP, the panel has determined that FEMA's data does not satisfy NFIP mapping standards defined in FEMA's Guidelines and Specifications for Flood Hazard Mapping Partners (NFIP standards) and must be revisited.

Panel Report:
https://portal.nibs.org/files/wl/?id=BEZoVjFVFzTIiVvt8fL1YFUS1z0bbh00
Panel Members:
  • Dr. Lee Azimi, P.E.
  • Dr. Richard Hawkins
  • Mr. Roger Kilgore, P.E., D.WRE
  • Mr. Albert Liou, P.E.
  • Dr. Vijay Singh
FEMA Final Determination Date:
FEMA Determination Summary:
Panel ID:
VTWB062111
Panel Name:
Barre, VT
Panel Request Date:
2011-06-21
FEMA Region:
I
Community Request Summary:

The City of Barre is appealing the peak discharges in FEMA's proposed 2009 Flood Insurance Study (FIS). These 2009 peak discharges are based on HEC-1 modeling. They replace FEMA's 2007 peak discharges that were based on regression equations and would replace the current effective 1984 discharges that were based on flow transposition.

The City contends that FEMA's 2009 hydrologic methodology produces results that are less accurate to those developed by flow transposition.

Panel Decision Date:
2011-11-16
Panel Decision Summary:

Based on the submitted scientific and technical information, and within the limitations of the SRP, the Panel has determined that, although the community's data satisfies NFIP standards, it does not negate FEMA's data.

Panel Report:
https://portal.nibs.org/files/wl/?id=QhF4CWQx60OTdCX2v7nICkSbWH2AvViD
Panel Members:
  • Mr. Robert Billings, PE, PH, CFM
  • Ms. Carolyn Gilligan, PE
  • Mr. John Loper, P.E.
  • Dr. Michael Menoes, PE
  • Dr. Charles Patterson, PhD, PE, CFM
FEMA Final Determination Date:
2012-09-19
FEMA Determination Summary:

The Letter of Final Determination (LFD) for the Washington County, VT flood study, which includes the City of Barre is scheduled for September 19, 2012. These maps would then take effect on March 19, 2013. FEMA issued a letter to the City of Barre on May 1, 2012, summarizing FEMA's decision to move forward with the study as follows: The Panel Decision and Report serves as a recommendation to FEMA and states that the Panel determined the City of Barre's submittal does not negate FEMA's data. Thus, the FEMA data presented in the preliminary Flood Insurance Study and Flood Insurance Rate Map for Washington County, VT were not corrected, contradicted, or negated by the City of Barre's submittal. Though no changes are warranted for Stevens Branch prior to finalizing the flood study, FEMA acknowledged the 'Additional Recommendations and Comments' in the report, which will be entered into FEMA's Comprehensive Needs Management System. This will enable FEMA to account for these recommendations and make use of them in future map improvements efforts in this area.

Panel ID:
MAES042211
Panel Name:
Ring's Island , Salisbury, MA
Panel Request Date:
2011-04-22
FEMA Region:
I
Community Request Summary:

The basis for the Town of Salisbury's appeal is that FEMA's proposal to include a V-Zone delineation and the increase in the flood elevation from Elevation 9 (the 1% annual chance floor elevation) to Elevation 11 in the Ring's Island area of the Merrimack River is based on analyses that

  • are not consistent with FEMA coastal flooding analyses;
  • utilized wind data that overestimated 1% storm wind velocities;
  • are based on a tansect that is not representative of the Ring's Island shoreline;
  • over estimated fetch distances for the Ring's Island shoreline.
Panel Decision Date:
2011-11-10
Panel Decision Summary:

Based on the submitted scientific and technical data and within the limitations of the SRP, the Panel has determined that the Community's data does not satisfy NFIP standards, thus FEMA's data is not corrected, contradicted, or negated.

Panel Report:
https://portal.nibs.org/files/wl/?id=sydKMbDgJplJK2YoCd6uKLerQOd7lwXL
Panel Members:
  • Dr. Thomas Ballestero
  • Mrs. Avalisha Fisher, P.E.
  • Mr. Douglas Hamilton, P.E., D.WRE
  • Mr. Roger Kilgore, P.E., D.WRE
  • Mr. John Lally, P.E.
FEMA Final Determination Date:
2012-01-03
FEMA Determination Summary:

On January 3, 2012, FEMA issued a Letter of Final Determination (LFD) for the Essex County, MA flood study, which included the Town of Salisbury. These maps took effect on July 3, 2012. The issuance of the LFD for this flood study was concurrent with the issuance of a letter to Town of Salisbury on January 3, summarizing FEMA's decision to move forward with the study as follows: The Panel Decision and Report serves as a recommendation to FEMA and states that the Panel determined the Town of Salisbury's submittal does not satisfy NFIP criteria. Thus, the FEMA data presented in the preliminary Flood Insurance Study and Flood Insurance Rate Map for Essex County, MA were not corrected, contradicted, or negated by the community's submittal. No changes were warranted prior to finalizing the flood study, which took effect on July 3, 2012.

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FEMA Panels

Panel ID:
FEMA061711
Panel Name:
Levee Analysis and Mapping Project, Independent Scientific Body
Panel Request Date:
2011-06-17
FEMA Region:
National
FEMA Request Summary:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) purpose in convening the Independent Scientific Body (ISB) is to obtain comments that will improve the proposed methodologies for creating Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) in areas with levees that are not accredited.  FEMA recognizes that no levee fully reduces the risk of flooding, including accredited levees.   Even properly maintained levees can fail or be overtopped during large flooding events.  Living with levees is a shared responsibility, however, and the work undertaken by the ISB will help communities better understand their risk leading to more informed decisions about what they can do to reduce that risk.

The three main aspects of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are:  1) floodplain identification and mapping; 2) floodplain management; and 3) flood insurance.  This ISB will examine the first aspect, floodplain identification and mapping, specifically as it applies to the analysis of risk associated with our Nation’s levee systems. FEMA is asking the ISB to evaluate the new levee analysis and mapping approaches. The primary framework for this analysis is:

  • Cost Effectiveness
  • Repeatability
  • Technical Credibility
  • Stakeholder Credibility
  • Alignment with Program Requirements and Obligations
  • Program Risk
Panel Review Completion Date:
2011-07-21
Panel Report:
Panel Members:
  • Mr. Scott Berkebile, PE, CFM, QSD/QSP, QISP, ToR
  • Mr. Martin Brungard, P.E., D.WRE
  • Mr. Todd Cochran, PE, CFM
  • Mr. Kyle Schilling, P.E., BCEE, D.WRE, Dist. M. ASCE
  • Mr. Joe VanMullem, PE
  • Dr. Thomas Zimmie, PhD, PE, D.GE
FEMA Summary:

November 15, 2011

Since the conclusion of the July 7 meeting between members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Levee Analysis and Mapping Team and the Levee Analysis and Mapping Independent Scientific Body (ISB), FEMA has been reviewing the comments provided in response to the information presented during the ISB meeting and in the various supporting materials supplied.  The Team is incorporating the ideas and suggestions brought forth by the ISB through their detailed review into FEMA's revised levee analysis and mapping approach.

FEMA has reviewed all of the comments, categorized them by subject area, and provided them to the Levee Analysis and Mapping Team for use in revising the proposed approach for analyzing and mapping non-accredited levees.  Some of the major items addressed are listed below.

A number of the comments FEMA received from the ISB pointed out the need to clarify terminology and provide more comprehensive guidance.  FEMA will review and clarify the usage of the terms "accredit" and "certify" to prevent confusion.  There will also be further clarification of roles during the Levee Discovery phase of a Risk MAP project.  FEMA has incorporated this guidance in the document, Revised Analysis and Mapping Procedures for Non-Accredited Levees: Proposed Approach for Public Review, which will be made available to the public for review and comment.  Note many of the more detailed comments and suggestions ISB members provided will be addressed in formal guidance provided to flood risk study practitioners.

FEMA agrees with the ISB that community collaboration to determine the most feasible technical solutions is an important step in moving forward.  FEMA will also revise the makeup and process for the Local Levee Working Group per the suggestion of the ISB. The ISB’s support for creating a collaborative process is appreciated, and FEMA will work to implement a method of stakeholder engagement that includes both a local levee working group and a best practices and implementation review process.

Many ISB members also commented on the need for more guidance regarding breach timing, selection of breach point, breach width, and total number of breaches.  FEMA will address and incorporate this information in future guidance documents.  Comments on the "freeboard deficient" alternatives are being considered as FEMA develops these procedures.  Based on feedback from the ISB, FEMA also plans to eliminate the 500-year protection option that was proposed by the Levee Analysis and Mapping Team.

In addition to the feedback noted above, FEMA has incorporated other comments received from the ISB and other reviewers into the Revised Analysis and Mapping Procedures for Non-Accredited Levees Systems, dated July 2013 that is available at http://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1922-25045-4455/20130703_approachdocument_508.pdf.

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