ReImagine Appalachia, Appalachian Citizens' Law Center and the National Wildlife Federation were joined by local elected officials and advocates today to detail a four-pillar flood resilience policy roadmap for Appalachia.

Nearly forty groups have endorsed the platform.

The four pillars of the flood resilience policy roadmap include:

  • Increasing local and state capacity to respond and recover
  • Relieving the recovery and mitigation burden for low-income households
  • Improving flood mapping and data inputs
  • Investing in nature-based hazard mitigation
  • Policy recommendations include opportunities to increase flood resiliency in the Farm Bill, currently under discussion in the House and the Senate.

Dana Kuhnline, Senior Program Director for ReImagine Appalachia said of the importance for the policy, "Too many of us have lain awake listening to the rain and worrying. Numerous studies have shown what nearly anyone can tell you: Floods are getting worse in Appalachia. The problems hit worse at the local level, but they have national solutions, which are outlined in this platform. Communities shouldn't be left on their own to deal with the enormous and heartbreaking challenges that flooding presents."

Over the last decade, there have been nearly 20 federally declared flooding disasters across Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee and Ohio.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency spent nearly $1 billion dollars on these events and at least 230 lives have been lost due to flash flooding.

"Our community in Etna, Pennsylvania has worked to implement flood controls and preparation efforts but it isn't easy navigating these programs," said Mary Ellen Ramage, Manager of the Borough of Etna, Pennsylvania. "The communities who need flood resiliency preparations the most tend to have the least capacity."

In April, a broad coalition of more than 60 groups delivered an open letter to Congress urging the support of crucial investments for flood recovery and resilience in their communities. The letter underscored the urgent need for decisive action as the region grapples with the intensifying impacts of climate change and increasing flood events, as well as the need for more support for local governments working to recover from flood events and prevent future disasters.

Some organizations showing support for the platform include, Ohio River Foundation, Ohio River Valley Institute, Alliance for Appalachia, Appalachian Citizens' Law Center, and Appalachian Voices.