The Levee Was Dry

Legal updates & commentary on flood risk and floodplain management

Latest from The Levee Was Dry

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) often seems to be the Congressional-stepchild; everyone knows that it deserves some attention but everyone is too busy with their favorite child.  Unfortunately, the Program is scheduled to expire in May and when it expires, the consequences can be dire.  Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters has been a long-time proponent of the Program and the changes that are necessary to keep it running and make it work…
If you answer yes to the questions below, you should carve out some time to participate in the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) next Public Private Partnership (P3) webinar: You are the non-federal sponsor of a federally authorized Corps project; The project construction cost exceeds $50M; The construction of the project includes a design, build, finance, operation and maintenance approach or some combination of these elements; The construction schedule will accelerate project delivery; The…
The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2018, included as title I of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (S. 3021), was signed into law today.  The new law provides the needed authorization for investment in harbor, waterway, flood protection, and other water infrastructure improvements throughout the country. As noted in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee press release: “I am proud of the fact that our Committee, the House, and the Senate…
Amidst much fanfare, on Friday President Trump released a Presidential Memoranda (much like an Executive Order, yet different?) directing Federal agencies to work together to reduce regulatory burdens on Western water deliveries.  It appears that the main thrust of the Memoranda is for NOAA Fisheries (which has Endangered Species Act oversight over certain fish species) to be more highly coordinated with the Secretary of the Department of the Interior, who has oversight over…
Great news for those of us tracking the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which authorizes specific projects, creates and modifies programs, and updates authorities for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:  The Senate has scheduled a a cloture vote on Tuesday.  For those with less background on the inner-workings of the Senate, a cloture vote is a procedural vote to allow only 30 hours of debate on a topic, followed by a vote on a…
Today the President signed an FY2019 “Minibus” into law (HR 5895) covering three of the twelve appropriations areas – energy and water, MilCon/VA, and legislative branch.  The Energy and Water portion funds the activities of USACE’s Civil Works function.  The agreement would provide a total of $7 billion to USACE, $171.5 million more than in fiscal 2018 and $2.21 billion more than requested by the President in his FY2019 Budget. Our thanks to our friends…
At last week’s Floodplain Management Association meeting in Reno, Nevada, the two of us planned and participated in a panel discussion on federal funding for flood control projects under the Trump administration.  Attendees enjoyed a discussion on federal funding options for local entities that are ready to carry out a flood control project (or any water infrastructure project, really), how some California agencies are strategizing to obtain such funding, and importantly, a perspective from a key staff…
All joking aside about a gridlocked Congress, real progress has been made this week on flood risk reduction authorizations and appropriations.  As explained below, it is looking like the 2018 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) may pass shortly, and the relevant budget subcommittees are ready to move an agreed-upon appropriations packet forward to their respective floors as well.  Also, Congress appears to have put a nail in the coffin for any proposal to move USACE…
  We are happy to share the guidance on how USACE should be moving forward with projects funded under the Supplemental Appropriation.  The guidance can be found here. The appropriation provided an incredible $15 billion for construction: Public Law 115-123 provides $15,055,000,000 in Construction funding (Supplemental Construction funds) to address emergency situations at Corps of Engineers projects, and to construct, and to rehabilitate and repair damages caused by natural disasters to, Corps projects. Of…