Floodplain modeling applications for emergency management and stakeholder involvement a case study: New Braunfels, Texas
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Implementation of the recommendations of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District (District) requires that many communities update their current floodplain maps. The FEMA Multi-Hazard Flood Map Modernization (Map Modernization) program is designed to provide digital flood hazard data and maps in a geographic information systems (GIS) format over the next several years. Assuring that the creation of new floodplain maps is a fair and technically accurate process is always a concern for both the public and governing agencies. While the technical aspects of modeling floodplains are the backbone of the process, often proactive involvement with stakeholders is the key to the overall success of community acceptance of new floodplains. The City of New Braunfels, Texas is an example of the union of GIS-based interactive modeling capabilities and stakeholder involvement in the development of new floodplain maps. Initially, public concerns were high because the new floodplains were much larger than the effective Flood Insurance Study (FIS) floodplains. Mid-project, a large storm drenched the City, validating the updated model’s predictions of a larger floodplain. CH2M HILL worked with the City’s staff to not only quickly produce interim floodplain maps for evacuation purposes, but to later help the City Council and City Engineer work with the stakeholders to try to adopt new floodplain boundaries. The adoption process is ongoing; the new maps have been published and are currently in the public comment period.