Floodplain & Riparian Area Preservation
Flooding, whether related to large scale events on the Susquehanna River or smaller events tied to more localized storms, is the most common natural hazard in Dauphin County.
The impacts associated with flooding are directly related to development patterns and the intensity of development, as periodic flooding is a natural process that only directly impacts structures within the natural floodplain, but increases in impervious surfaces associated with development cause rises in flood elevations, often impacting structures well outside the defined floodplain boundary.
It is important to address flooding by both addressing the structures that are currently inside existing floodplain boundaries and managing development to prevent new structures from being constructed in areas subject to flooding. Preserving areas naturally prone to flooding and providing areas for flood waters to flow without significantly impacting buildings or infrastructure is critical in reducing damage and the costs associated with floods.
The Dauphin County Department of Public Safety is the primary entity responsible for updating the Hazard Mitigation Plan, which addresses not only flooding but a full range of natural and man-made hazards.
The plan contains a detailed summary of the impacts associated with hazards in Dauphin County and the strategies associated with minimizing and mitigating the impacts.
- Reduce the impacts from flooding for homeowners and businesses;
- Seek to minimize the cost to property owners for hazard mitigation and flood insurance;
- Coordinate preservation/protection efforts with the identification of natural hazard potential to minimize future damage due to flooding by the Susquehanna River and its tributaries.
KEY ACTION ITEMS
- Ensure that local floodplain ordinances are consistent with the most recent FEMA and PA DCED guidelines;
- Ensure that current floodplain mapping is incorporated into all updates of municipal and county greenway and open space plans;
- Encourage SRBC to continue their work with the online flood model for the Susquehanna River and expand the effort to include the Swatara Creek watershed and other streams prone to flooding;
- Support the Department of Public Safety’s efforts associated with future updates and implementation of the Dauphin County Hazard Mitigation Plan;
- Through education and model ordinance development, promote the utilization of a variety of techniques, such as official maps, coordination of land acquisition and/or easement programs, environmental protection zoning, setback/buffer requirements, low impact development and transfer of development rights to protect and preserve environmentally sensitive lands;
- Educate municipal officials on the potential risk of Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) funding eligibility associated with recent FEMA floodway requirements that are leading to the mandatory removal of repetitive loss structures;
- Educate municipalities regarding the FEMA Community Rating System (CRS) program designed to reduce flood insurance rates and support the efforts of municipalities choosing to participate in the program;
- As the items listed herein are put into action, the Implementation Partners should seek to continue their efforts toward the accomplishment of the plan’s goals through the identification and implementation of additional efforts deemed appropriate by the their committee and the County Commissioners. Any such actions should be publicly identified in the “Tracking Our Progress” section of the Comprehensive Plan Website.