Forum 3 - 2010 - Gilbert F. White National Flood Policy Forum
Managing Flood Risks & Floodplain Resources
The ASFPM Foundation took up Flood Risk as the cause for the 3rd Gilbert F. White National Flood Policy Forum. In fact, when the Events Planning Committee began to ponder the program plans, they found it to be such a comprehensive and complex subject that they broke it into three segments in order to properly tackle the topic. Symposium 1 in September addressed quantification through the theme, “Defining and Measuring Flood Risks and Floodplain Resources”. Symposium 2 in November dealt more with communicating, via the theme, “Flood Risk Perception, Communication, and Behavior”. The background information and common understandings garnered focused the 2010 Forum in March on “Flood Risk Management”. The series was by invitation only as in the previous Foundation Forums – the first in 2004 entitled "Is the 1% Chance Flood Standard Sufficient" and the second in 2007 entitled "Floodplain Management in 2050".
Flood Risk Management Forum. Series overview and introduction to the 3rd Gilbert F. White Flood Policy Forum.
Perspectives on Floodplain Management: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. Dr. Gilbert F. White speaks at the Buyouts Workshop in Davenport, Iowa, January 1994.
The challenge facing the third assembly of the Gilbert F. White National Flood Policy Forum was to solidify a cohesive vision of the fundamental components of a flood risk and resources management strategy for the nation, and to identify the steps that must be taken to develop and implement such a strategy.
Over 60 invited papers on this topic have been collected within the background material document, roughly grouped into five categories—although most papers adopted a broad perspective and could properly have been placed in more than one category. These background papers set out the thinking of experts in the field as they ponder whether a risk management approach will be an appropriate and more effective way to managing floods and floodplain resources in the future. If so, what would such a framework entail, what should it seek to achieve, what obstacles must be overcome? The thinking presented in these papers underlay the discussion at the Assembly of the Forum.
Part 1. Outcomes and Indicators:
Scott Edelman, President, ASFPM
Sam Riley Medlock, Policy &
Partnerships Program Manager, ASFPM
Jeanne Christie, Executive
Director, Association of State Wetland Managers
Dennis Mileti, Professor Emeritus,
University of Colorado-Boulder
Doug Plasencia, ASFPM Foundation
Trustee; Michael Baker, Jr., Inc.
"Defining and Measuring Flood Risks and Floodplain Resources" seeks to identify the most effective operational definition(s) of flood risk and the methods for quantifying both the risks that floods pose and the benefits and resources that flooding can bring.
"Flood Risk Perception,
Communication, and Behavior". Using consensus recommendations
on the best definition of and methods for quantifying flood risks and
benefits (generated at the first symposium), the second symposium, “Flood
Risk Perception, Communication, and Behavior,” worked to reach agreement
on the best methods to get the public and decisionmakers to take appropriate
steps to manage and otherwise cope with flooding. A major research project,
just completed, has confirmed that individual and household behaviors
to mitigate and/or cope with the threat of natural hazards and/or terrorism
are not influenced by an understanding of the actual risk of such events
and/or their consequences. Rather, appropriate coping behaviors, such
as preparedness and mitigation, are the result of a range of other factors
identified in that study. Thus, the earlier belief that people would take
That research did not investigate collective behavior, i.e., decisionmaking at local, state, or federal levels. How to foster appropriate collective behavior is significant to floodplain management because many of the most effective mitigation techniques (land use, building codes, open space maintenance) cannot be carried out individually. Thus separate consideration needs to be given to how collective decisions about risk and environmental issues are made and can be influenced.
States Symposia, April 2011
Two follow-on State Symposia were held in 2011, in Indianapolis, Indiana, on April 12 and in Boulder, Colorado, on April 14. Here is the report on their discussions and observations, as an appendix to the 2010 Forum.