Ventura County is highly vulnerable to damage from floods due to the geographic location and orographic conditions. Since 1992, there have been five Presidential disaster declarations for flooding in Ventura County. In addition, at least every five years, a flood or flood-related hazard causes damage that is not significant enough for a disaster declaration but, nonetheless, costs county residents, businesses, and taxpayers millions of dollars. The risks posed by these hazards increase as the county’s population continues to grow.
In 1994, Congress authorized the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) Program to provide funding to assist states and localities in implementing measures to reduce or eliminate the risks due to flood hazards. In particular, the FMA Program was designed to reduce the long-term damage to buildings, manufactured homes, and other structures insurable under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The FMA Program is implemented by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through its state partners.
The goals of the FMA Program are to:
- Reduce the number of repetitively damaged structures and the associated claims on the National Flood Insurance Program.
- Encourage long-term, comprehensive mitigation planning.
- Respond to the need of the communities participating in the NFIP to expand their mitigation activities beyond floodplain development review and permitting.
- Complement of other Federal and state mitigation programs with similar, long-term mitigation goals.
The FMA Program is a pre-disaster mitigation program made available to states on an annual basis. Although individuals are not eligible for FMA grants directly, their local government may submit an application on their behalf. However, all local jurisdictions that apply for FMA grants must be an active participant in the NFIP.
Two types of FMA grants are available to local communities: planning grants and project grants. Planning grants are awarded to local governments to develop or update a flood mitigation plan that includes: public involvement, coordination with other agencies or organizations, flood hazard area inventory, problem identification, and review of possible mitigation actions. Project grants are awarded to communities that already have a FEMA-approved mitigation plan and want to implement the strategies set forth in the plan to reduce the risk of flood damage to structures insurable under the NFIP. The mitigation of repetitively damaged structures is a high priority
In California, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) administers the FMA Program and is responsible for selecting projects for funding throughout the state. The OES then forwards selected applications to FEMA to determine final eligibility.
In 2003, the OES awarded a FMA planning grant to Ventura County to develop a flood mitigation plan. The county, in turn, entered into a Cooperative Agreement with the Ventura County Watershed Protection District (referred to hereafter as the District) to develop the flood mitigation plan because the District has the technical expertise to develop a flood mitigation plan and currently administers the floodplain management program on behalf of the county. The District is preparing the flood mitigation plan in parallel with the multi-jurisdictional hazard mitigation plan for Ventura County, and elements of the flood mitigation plan will be incorporated into the hazard mitigation plan. The completed flood mitigation plan will address planning for risks associated with flooding, post-fire debris flow, and dam failure. It will also address how to mitigate and reduce the number of repetitive loss structures in the county. The flood mitigation plan for the District was prepared with input from Ventura County residents and stakeholders, responsible officials, and URS Corporation (consultants); and with the support of the OES and FEMA.
For more information, please visit the Flood Mitigation Plan for Ventura County.