experts and consultants (such as civil engineers),
government regulators, permitting and compliance officials, and
policy-makers or law-makers.
Each of these classes of decision-maker imposes limitations or requirements on the scope of the options that can be considered by the others involved in a particular project. The motivations and constraints of the different groups of decision-makers vary depending on their relation to the property, their knowledge of different types of shoreline protection options, their stewardship responsibilities, their professional interests, regulatory framework, legal precedence, and local preferences.
For example, proponents of shoreline protection are usually property owners driven by a desire to preserve upland area and value or by a desire to protect, create, or restore recreational opportunities that a beach may provide, for example. They seek an outcome that will protect and maximize their uses of the shoreline and their investment. The realities of private property insurance or the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) may also influence property owners’ decisions. NFIP, run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), informs the zoning decisions made by communities. According to the Coastal Engineering Manual (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2002b): “Any structural or nonstructural change in the design, construction or alteration of a building to reduce damage caused by flooding and flood related factors (storm surges, waves, and erosion) is considered a flood proofing alternative by FEMA,” (see Box 5-1).
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
The NFIP was established with the passage of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (P.L. 90-448). It is a voluntary program based on an agreement between flood-prone communities and the federal government to reduce future flood risk to new construction in floodplains. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) publishes maps, called Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), to show areas in the community that have a 1 percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year, known as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). FIRMs are developed by engineering companies, other federal agencies, or the community at risk and are reviewed and approved by FEMA. FIRMs are used by property owners, buyers, insurance agents, and lending institutions to locate properties and buildings in flood insurance risk areas. Community officials use the FIRM for their area to administer floodplain management regulations and to mitigate flood damage.