Building in flood zones is about to get harder across much of Oregon, due to new federal recommendations.
The government is responding to a lawsuit from environmental groups. They argued that federal flood insurance was encouraging development detrimental to threatened salmon.
Will Stelle is the regional administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Stelle says the opinion recommends FEMA make several efforts to change the flood insurance program.
“The first effort is a mapping effort,” Stelle said. “The second effort is development standards to try to steer development out of harm’s way, in order to protect those most important habitat functions for salmon and steelhead.”
FEMA estimates that more than 250 Oregon communities have flood-plain areas along salmon-bearing waterways that could see restrictions - including Oregon’s most populated areas.
Oregon Congressman Peter DiFazio garnered support in the U.S. House for legislation potentially blocking FEMA from following the recommendations.
Copyright 2016 OPB.