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FEMA analyzes flood risk on Lake Superior's shore

A study is underway to look at the impact of Lake Superior on flooding along its shoreline. The Great Lakes Coastal Flood Study is a collaboration of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineering Research a...

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A study is underway to look at the impact of Lake Superior on flooding along its shoreline.

The Great Lakes Coastal Flood Study is a collaboration of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineering Research and Data Center, state partners, the Association of State Floodplain Management and FEMA contractors.

The goal of the study is to establish technically-sound processes for updating data on Great Lakes coastal flood hazards using scientifically valid statistical analysis, which was compared to data from historical severe storms.

In this effort, the data is being analyzed to determine the risk to the public, provide information that can be used for planning and determine flood plain insurance risk, said Sarah Hayden, an engineer with STARR, a FEMA contractor working on the project. Data will be available to communities for shoreline development, determining the need for sea walls, wetland restoration and shore activities along Douglas County's 48-mile shoreline along Lake Superior.

Similar studies are underway for St. Louis, Lake and counties in Minnesota, and Ashland and Bayfield counties in Wisconsin.

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Draft maps were reviewed by Superior city and Douglas County officials this week, showing potential changes in Douglas County's coastal flood maps to help officials understand current flood risks and understand potential flood insurance requirements during a public comment period, which runs through July 3.

New floodplain maps are three to five years out, depending on funding, Hayden said.

For information on FEMA's Great Lakes Coastal Guidelines, visit www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/130318 . Draft maps are available at arcg.is/0miLvO. Public comment can be submitted to Jordan Williams at williamsjo@cdmsmith.com .

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