McKenzie River Reflections - Make the McKenzie Connection!

Could development within 170 feet of a stream be banned?

 

August 12, 2016



EUGENE: Conflicts involving the National Flood Insurance Act and the Endangered Species Act relating to impacts subsidized flood insurance have had on development in floodplains is now being reviewed by Lane County‘s Land Management Division. In a June memo to the board of commissioners, Keir Miller, a senior planner with the Public Works Department, noted the county had been participating in the flood program since 1970.

“The Land Management Division is responsible for administering the day-to-day activities of the county’s floodplain program, which is accomplished primarily through the application of the County’s floodplain regulations,” his memo stated. “These day-to-day activities include the review and issuance of development permits for structures in the floodplain, maintaining building elevation certificates, providing floodplain information and mapping services at the request of property owners, developers and lenders, conducting education and outreach efforts about flood hazards.”


The Federal Emergency Management Agency has told jurisdictions participating in the program they are expected to follow some immediate steps to prevent unmitigated development in floodplains because of negative impacts on anadromous species, including salmon and steelhead.

According to the memo, “Perhaps the most significant of the Element 2 interim measure is the requirement that FEMA identify a riparian buffer zone measured 170 feet horizontally from the ordinary high water mark of perennial or intermittent streams, and limit the types of development allowed in the RBZ to: (1) water-dependent uses; (2) habitat restoration activities; (3) activities that result in a beneficial gain for the species or habitat; and (4) activities that will have no adverse effects on listed species or habitat, i.e., activities that will not degrade or limit natural floodplain functions in any way.”

Although Keir told the board he was not recommending any action at this time, he advised the board that implementation of the changes will, “Constitute a significant shift in the requirements and administration of the NFIP. These changes will drastically alter Oregon’s regulatory landscape as it applies to floodplain development. However, these changes will almost certainly improve habitat function and health for endangered salmon and steelhead.” is now being reviewed by Lane County‘s Land Management Division. In a June memo to the board of commissioners, Keir Miller, a senior planner with the Public Works Department, noted the county had been participating in the flood program since 1970.floodplains because of negative impacts on anadromous species, including salmon and steelhead.RBZ to: (1) water-dependent uses; (2) habitat restoration activities; (3) activities that result in a beneficial gain for the species or habitat; and (4) activities that will have no adverse effects on listed species or habitat, i.e., activities that will not degrade or limit natural floodplain functions in any way.”Keir told the board he was not recommending any action at this time, he advised the board that implementation of the changes will, “Constitute a significant shift in the requirements and administration of the NFIP. These changes will drastically alter Oregon’s regulatory landscape as it applies to floodplain development. However, these changes will almost certainly improve habitat function and health for endangered salmon and steelhead.”

 

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