FEMA will begin to implement measures described in the various elements of the RPA immediately. In some cases FEMA may choose to substitute strategies that are equally effective at avoiding jeopardy. Some RPA elements concern measures that FEMA can implement directly, such as new floodplain mapping schedules. Other RPA elements anticipate local actions by NFIP communities.
The RPA describes an interim phase that calls for FEMA to direct NFIP participating communities to implement new floodplain development permitting standards based on existing guidance and administrative tools with substantially enhanced technical support from both FEMA and NMFS. The second phase calls for FEMA to revise its floodplain management regulations and/or associated guidance and technical documents as needed to implement the RPA’s mapping, development, mitigation, and reporting standards. The RPA lays out a schedule that begins immediately and calls for a fully implemented program in 5 years.
Ultimately, NFIP communities in the 31 counties with ESA
listed salmonids will need to increase habitat protections. Development that degrades floodplain functions includes: clearing of native riparian vegetation; increases in impervious surface; displacement or reduction of flood storage via fill or structures; interruption of habitat forming process; increases of pollutant loading in receiving water bodies; and increases in stormwater. The new expectations will be described by FEMA guidance, which will be drafted over the next several months.
How to read the RPA