Describe Your Solution:
At the community level, Ottawa's floodplain management team focused first on educating themselves. After becoming certified in floodplain management the City joined the Community Rating System and the Illinois Association of Floodplain and Stormwater Managers. Simultaniously, a flood commision was formed and new regulatory standards were adopted.
Entry into the CRS, adopting and enforcing higher regulatory standards and preparing a detailed Flood Threat Recognition & Response plan enabled our city to prevent millions of dollars in flood damage and returned over 40 acres of riverfront to open space. The community responded with overwhelming support for the city's floodplain management plans.
After the 2013 record flood, Senator Sue Rezin (38th District) saw first hand the devestation caused by flooding in her district which has over 100 miles of Illinois River & 40 miles of Fox River. In two counties alone there were over 150 million dollars in flood losses. She immeidaely questioned why the City of Ottawa was relativley undamaged. She asked if Ottawa would share with other communities andj quickly formed what is now the Illinois Valley Flood Alliance.
The premiss of the Alliance is fourfold, 1.) Adopt higher regulatory standards, 2.) Join the Community Rating System, 3) Interact with other organizations such as the Illinois Association of Floodplain and Stormwater Managers and 4. ) Have someone on staff become a Certified Floodplain Manager (education). The concept is simple--a community can be exceptional at managing their floodplain, however, unwise development up or downstream can have an adverse impact on that community. Having the communities hold one another accountable fosters the concept of a collaborative efffort at the community level. An April 2014 ASCE magazine report titled, "Flood Risk Management: The Need for Sound Policdies and Practices-- states "Flood risk managment provides for: collaborative risk sharing and risk management at all levels of government and by all stakeholders." Currently, 18 communities and 4 counties are part of this effort. The concept is now reaching further downstream as two legislators from other districts have expressed interest in furthing this cause.
Ottawa continues to make forward strides in its floodplain management. Currently Ottawa is preparing a "Program for Public Information".