As part of its overall floodplain management program, the county provides a number of services to local residents and businesses. These services include the following:
- Public assistance with inquiries about Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood zones and floodplains generally.
- Proclamation from the County Executive and County Council declaring June to be “Flood Awareness Month” with tips on flood safety and where to get additional information. Email distribution of flood protection and prevention guidance/tips to list serve (HOAs, employees, partners, advisory group, County employees, school system etc.). Mailings of flood awareness letters with brochures and posters to residents in flood hazard areas, realtors, insurance agents and lenders.
- Flood Protection Library: Local libraries have information on flood mitigation and insurance (materials include local flood studies and contact information, as well as “generic” flood information materials from FEMA).
- The county publicizes the availability of floodplain information with lenders, realtors, insurance agents and the general public needing flood zone determinations for mortgage lending and insurance rating. In addition, information on floodplains generally, floodplain regulations, flood safety tips, natural and beneficial significance of floodplains and similar information is disseminated through a variety of outlets including:
- County fair display, various public outreach events held throughout the year, library displays and holdings, press coverage in the local paper, county cable television, and Department of the Environment (DoE) press release;
- Flood Warning Program: The county has a comprehensive Flood Warning Program for Western Branch and the Anacostia River, which includes a state-of-the-art stream gauge network and flood warning system. County staff regularly monitor the system and alert emergency management personnel when a flooding threat becomes a concern. While this system is not available publicly, NOAA and USGS maintain a network of stream flow gauges throughout the nation that is available publicly. Real-time gauge stream data can be viewed from this site.
- Flood Protection Assistance: The county offers technical assistance to residents with drainage and flooding problems. In addition, a number of capital projects are undertaken for flood mitigation. Capital projects include acquisition of floodprone structures, floodproofing, and construction of drainage improvement projects.
- Development Review Activities: The Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement (DPIE) reviews development proposals to ensure compliance with relevant floodplain, stormwater management, and grading ordinances to protect the health, safety, and welfare of local residents and businesses..
- Maintenance of Stormwater Management Facilities: DPW&T, Storm Drain Maintenance Division (SDMD), supports the Department's goal and mission of professional service, and public safety. The SDMD is charged with the inspection, maintenance and emergency response of the County’s public infrastructure including storm drain systems, Storm Water Management Facilities (SWMF), and flood control facilities. Currently, there are approximately 460 SWMF maintained by the county. Generally, the SDMD provides functional maintenance* of the SWMF’s ensuring operational function and compliance with the state and county regulations for Stormwater Management practices and standards.
- Community Partnering: DPW&T supports and partners with local communities desiring to enhance routine SWMF pond maintenance activities. Under such agreements, the county remains responsible for the overall function of the pond, as described above. Those communities interested in participating enter into a signed Maintenance Agreement with the county assuming specific maintenance activities with the pond.
*Functional Maintenance may be defined as permanent maintenance of the facility to include semi-annual mowing and physical maintenance of the storm drain system, pond riser structure, outfalls, and embankments. Crews will also remove litter and trash during the semi-annual mowing operations to the extent possible. SDMD crews also respond to emergency service requests as necessary to ensure operational integrity of the ponds.
For more information about flood management, flood safety tips and flood insurance contact: 301-883-6211.
For information on the National Flood Insurance Program, contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at 800-427-4661.