Today, rising waterways still present a flood risk for many
communities along rivers. But flood mitigation efforts by the
Illinois Emergency Management Agency in the past 20 years have
helped remove 3,928 structures from flood-prone areas. This action
has saved communities from flood-fighting and public safety expenses
while helping residents avoid the heartbreak and costs of repeated
The flood mitigation efforts are made possible by
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding the state receives from the
Federal Emergency Management Agency. The program enables state and
local governments to work together on cost-effective, long-term
mitigation measures that reduce loss of life and property due to
natural disasters. The amount of funding made available is a
percentage of total federal assistance provided to people and local
governments following federally declared disasters.
Since 1993, Illinois has received more than $180.4 million in
from the program. In addition to flood mitigation projects, IEMA
uses the funds to support mitigation for other hazards, such as
earthquakes and windstorms.
"As we saw in 1993 and in more than a dozen floods since then,
the rivers win many of the flood battles, no matter how hard we
fight," said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. "Through the Hazard
Mitigation Grant Program, we've helped many communities turn
flood-prone areas into open spaces, parks or bike trails. Now when
the river floods in these areas, it doesn't cause such devastating
damage to homes, businesses and other structures."
Nearly 1,900 properties affected by 1993 flood removed from flood
Thirty-nine Illinois counties were declared federal disaster
areas in the 1993 flood. IEMA worked with 30 flood-affected counties
and local jurisdictions on the acquisition of 1,893 homes,
businesses and lots at a cost of more than $31 million. The Illinois
Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (now the Illinois
Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity) also funded flood
mitigation projects in six communities.
In addition to properties acquired through the Hazard Mitigation
Grant Program following the 1993 flood, FEMA purchased several
hundred properties in Illinois under a separate program.
The success of mitigation projects completed since the 1993 flood
is evident in many Illinois communities. One example is Grafton, a
Jersey County community at the confluence of the Illinois and
Mississippi rivers, just north of the confluence of the Mississippi
and Missouri rivers. That location subjects the city to flooding
nearly every year.
The 1993 flood inundated almost the entire city for months,
severely damaging or destroying more than 100 homes. To end the
cycle of construction, destruction and reconstruction, Grafton opted
to use Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding to acquire 100
properties and turn them into open space. Besides providing a
scenic, unobstructed view of the Mississippi River, the acquisition
efforts have helped reduce the impact of flooding.
Communities can apply for property acquisition funding
In order to receive Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds, a
community must have an approved all-hazards mitigation plan. For
projects located in a flood plain, the community must also
participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. To be eligible,
projects must be environmentally sound, cost-effective, solve a
problem and prevent future disaster damage. Approved projects
receive 75 percent federal funding, and the local jurisdiction is
responsible for 25 percent of the project costs.
To be considered for property acquisition funding, a county or
other local jurisdiction must decide if it wants to participate.
IEMA's mitigation staff members guide local officials on preparation
of an application, which then must be approved by FEMA. Property
owners decide whether or not they want to participate in their
community's acquisition project. No property is acquired without the
owner's consent. If the application is approved, participating
property owners receive payment based on a fair market appraisal of
the pre-flood property value.
Currently, 13 community applications are under review by FEMA,
and approximately 20 other communities are working on applications.
Flooding this April throughout Illinois resulted in FEMA approval
of 35 counties for federal aid to people and households and approval
of 40 counties for assistance to local governmental bodies with
their flood-related expenses. Illinois will receive additional
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding equal to 15 percent of the
final dollar amount for both forms of assistance. The funding will
enable IEMA to continue mitigation projects throughout the state.
[to top of second column]
To date, federal grants totaling nearly $140 million have been
approved for people and households affected by this spring's
flooding. IEMA and FEMA currently are working with local governments
on their applications for reimbursement of flood-related expenses.
Once those costs are finalized, IEMA will learn how much additional
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding it will receive.
For more information about the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program,
visit the Ready Illinois website at
Property acquisitions through HMGP /
IEMA since 1993
Jo Daviess, 2
Rock Island, 67
St. Clair, 259
Emergency Management Agency file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]