Proposed Abstract Title

The FEMA BiOp - Underutilized Potential for Shoreline Protection

Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Protecting Natural Shoreline Functions with Existing Regulations and New Approaches

Location

2016SSEC

Description

In 2008 the US National Marine Fisheries Service issued a Biological Opinion establishing that, because it allows or encourages floodplain and shoreline development, the flood insurance program operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Puget Sound would likely jeopardize the existence of Chinook salmon, southern resident killer whales, and other species listed under the Endangered Species Act. The so-called FEMA BiOp has stringent requirements for protecting habitat, in both freshwater and marine shorelines, but does not have many of the exemptions common to state and local regulations. Because FEMA has little enforcement capability, local jurisdictions are expected to implement the BiOp as a condition of a continuing flood insurance program. The complex BiOp requirements are applied unevenly by many local governments. Full implementation of the BiOp would advance marine and freshwater shoreline protections substantially. A history of BiOp implementation and examples from the Skagit and Whidbey basins are presented.

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The FEMA BiOp - Underutilized Potential for Shoreline Protection

2016SSEC

In 2008 the US National Marine Fisheries Service issued a Biological Opinion establishing that, because it allows or encourages floodplain and shoreline development, the flood insurance program operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Puget Sound would likely jeopardize the existence of Chinook salmon, southern resident killer whales, and other species listed under the Endangered Species Act. The so-called FEMA BiOp has stringent requirements for protecting habitat, in both freshwater and marine shorelines, but does not have many of the exemptions common to state and local regulations. Because FEMA has little enforcement capability, local jurisdictions are expected to implement the BiOp as a condition of a continuing flood insurance program. The complex BiOp requirements are applied unevenly by many local governments. Full implementation of the BiOp would advance marine and freshwater shoreline protections substantially. A history of BiOp implementation and examples from the Skagit and Whidbey basins are presented.