Floodplain Management

Course Number
ENVS 688 660
Course Code
Course Key
Miller, John
Course Note
MES Concentration course in Resilience & Adaptation/MSAG Elective Env Geology
Course Description
According to a 2019 paper by Scott A. Kulp and Benjamin H. Strauss in the journal Nature Communications, 230 million people worldwide occupy land that is less than 1 meter above current high tide. These lands will be inundated by sea level rise by the end of this century, or earlier. Add to this the inherent flood risks in riverine and urban settings. How do we prepare and adapt? The class will explore the challenge of floodplain management in a changing climate through lectures, talks by guest experts, readings and multimedia, and exploration in the field. We will take a field trip to the New Jersey coast to witness home elevations, beach nourishment, and locales that are already experiencing chronic tidal flooding; we will meet with municipal officials challenged by increasingly persistent sea level rise. Our class will look at the National Flood Insurance Program, examine its goals, critique its 50 year history and debate reforms to the program at the same time the US Congress is considering reauthorization of the program. We will look at resiliency efforts that states and local governments are pursuing and the new city- and state-level position of Chief Resiliency Officer. In class we will cover hazard mitigation planning, land use, hard and natural infrastructure, regulations, the Community Rating System and other issues pertaining to flooding and climate change, including social justice and public health issues. Throughout the course, material will be introduced to prepare the student to take the Certified Floodplain Manager exam administered by the Association of State Floodplain Managers. This optional test, should the student pass, will provide credentialing that is well recognized in the United States.
Subject Area Vocab