COLUMBUS, OH -- Cities, villages and counties throughout Ohio's 29-county Appalachian region that are prone to flooding are now eligible for financial assistance from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to prepare mitigation plans that focus on reducing flood damage.
The Appalachian Flood Risk Reduction Initiative (AFRRI) is a two-year pilot project enabling eligible communities to develop plans reducing the risk to people and property from flood disasters. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce with the assistance of the Governor's Office of Appalachia and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.
Flooding is the most costly natural disaster in Ohio and the United States each year. The steep slopes and narrow valleys of Appalachia (where high waters present a special problem) offer unique challenges to sustainable development. The goal of AFRRI is to ensure development is sustainable by increasing local capability to address natural disasters. Sustainable development enhances the community and protects the environment for future generations.
Each community receiving an AFRRI grant is eligible for up to $5,000 (with an equal amount required in matching funds) to generate a natural disaster plan focusing on flooding. Communities can supply in-kind or donated labor in lieu of matching funds.
Recipient communities will have one year to complete mitigation plans. Local committees will be responsible for developing the plans with input from citizens and community leaders.
The ODNR Division of Water will use its new Geographic Information System to generate a flood study and map for a select reach of stream in each community. In addition, grant recipients will receive technical assistance and training from the division and flood mitigation training from OEMA.
Only Appalachian communities in good standing with the National Flood Insurance Program are eligible to participate in the project. The federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 requires communities to design flood plans as a first step toward receiving additional federal mitigation assistance at a later date.
Applications for AFRRI grants must be submitted by January 31, 2002. For additional information, call Steve Ferryman, ODNR Division of Water, at 614-265-6732 or Janice Gartner, ODNR Division of Water, at 614-265-6729.