Thursday, February 28, 2008

Flood mitigation in New York state

Since Carbon-Based is located in “southern tier” of New York, I hope you’ll indulge a little local news, from WBNG News (Binghamton, New York): Governor Eliot Spitzer today announced that New York State, through the State Emergency Management Office (SEMO), will provide $650,000 to local governments for flood mitigation projects with strong educational and training components that address watershed management. The announcement was made by Michael Balboni, the administration’s Deputy Secretary for Public Safety, at the 2008 Flood Summit which convened today in Binghamton.

The Summit was proposed by Governor Spitzer to provide a forum for discussing a variety of issues associated with flooding, such as watershed management, state and local response activities and ways government can better protect our residents and property.

Over the last four years, New York has been struck by nine floods so serious that they were all declared major federal disasters. The cost of these events was staggering, with nearly $500 million spent for emergency response and repairs to the public infrastructure alone.

“Today’s summit brings together state and local officials, as well as other stakeholders, to develop a comprehensive strategy to address flooding across the state,” said Governor Spitzer. “With the funds made available today, State Emergency Management will enable local governments to help their communities mitigate, prepare for and respond to flooding.”

The grant program will be administered by SEMO. As in past grant rounds, SEMO will notify County Executives, County Emergency Managers, and County Hazard Mitigation Coordinators of the program details and deadlines; this information will also be available in notices placed in the New York State Register.

Applications for these mitigation funds will be evaluated based on their expected effectiveness at educating the public about mitigation programs and opportunities, training local officials and volunteers about measures and techniques proven to reduce the loss of lives and properties from disasters, and enhancing previous and current mitigation projects and activities. Examples of eligible projects include:

  • Working with local public works officials and contractors to determine appropriate stream management techniques for their community;
  • Educating local elected officials about techniques to protect and restore important public documents that could be damaged in a disaster;
  • Training school officials about steps they can take to avoid the loss of life, destruction of records, or damage to public educational facilities;
  • Identifying local hazards and developing related outreach activities; and
  • Developing and implementing public awareness or education campaigns about locally-identified risks and appropriate preparation and response.

Senator John Bonacic said: “We need a substantial state investment in flood prevention. There is simply no reason why we should spend millions of dollars on post-flood activity when we can invest monies more wisely in pre-flood mitigation. This funding is a good first step, but we will need a continuous investment in order to provide a permanent solution to prevent flood damage.”….

Flood mitigation of the Old School: Noah's Ark by Edward Hicks (1780-1849), Wikimedia Commons

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