THE ISSUE: Spreading the word on flood control
OUR VIEW: Sen. Rezin’s group shows the way
There are good lessons learned by state Sen. Sue Rezin’s flood control group.
And now the Army Corps of Engineers plans to make them a best practices model for other communities.
The Illinois Valley Flood Resiliency Alliance was created by Rezin after the damaging floods of 2013.
Quite simply, the goal was to get communities in La Salle, Grundy, Bureau and Putnam counties together to learn more about how to prevent flooding, how to coordinate people and materials during a flood, and how to approach clean-up and recovery.
Some of the practical steps encouraged by the alliance have been for the various communities to adopt and enforce tougher flood control standards, have their own certified flood plain managers and participate in the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System, a voluntary incentive program which can lower flood insurance costs for residents.
Last week, at the alliance’s quarterly meeting in Ottawa, Christopher Haring, a research physical scientist from the Army Corps of Engineers, said he wants to share the alliance’s experience.
“I can remember coming to the first meeting and there was maybe 15 or 20 people there,” he said to the four dozen people in attendance. “So it’s great to see this has expanded the way it has.”
Any group could go to the website, upload the information and then start their own, he said.
Once the group is created, the periodic meetings are attended by federal and state experts who bring solutions with them to make it easier to learn what opportunities are available, both in terms of funds and the latest flood-fighting techniques.
“We have the experts in the room,” said Rezin. “That makes it easier for the small communities that don’t have a lot of information to navigate what we’re doing.”
It’s not the first time the alliance has been singled out.
“The Illinois Valley Flood Resiliency Alliance is an innovative, proactive approach that has brought communities together to strengthen their flood resiliency efforts,” Illinois Emergency Management Director James K. Joseph said last year. “It’s a great model of how to deal with flood fighting, flood prevention and other flood-related issues, and we would like to see other areas adopt this sensible approach.”
Now it appears that will happen.
Congratulations to Sen. Rezin for leading this effort, to all the alliance members who have been helping their communities, and to the officials, both state and federal, who have participated and freely shared their expertise.