The City of Coeur d’Alene recently received a letter from the Army Corps of Engineers stating, “the levee certification (evaluation) letter provided to the Federal Emergency Response Agency (FEMA) and the City in July 2007 for the Coeur D’Alene Flood Control Project will be considered invalid by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on August 31, 2013.”
Apparently back in August 2010, the Army Corps made a revision of its Engineering Circular which specifies the process for national flood insurance program levee system evaluations. Prior to this update, the Army Corps provided levee systems evaluation for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) without charge to state, regional and local governments. Now between funding constraints and some past evaluations having been found insufficient, the Army Corps “will no longer remain on record as providing a positive NFIP levee system evaluation.”
With the Army Corps no longer in the levee certifying business, many communities will be left struggling to afford private certification. The City of Coeur d’Alene must hire a private Architect-Engineering firm to perform the levee evaluation in accordance with FEMA’s requirements.
Luckily, August 31, 2013 isn’t a hard deadline. The Army Corps of Engineers certification will expire at that time, but FEMA will then extend a two year provisional certification to allow the third-party firm time to complete their evaluation and the City to come into compliance.
Science has shown that certain trees can actually strengthen levees. Let’s hope that science can make its way into policy within the next two years.