Stafford Act – Keystone of Federal Disaster Response

Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (as amended August 2016)Download

The Stafford Act includes a limitation of liability provision which provides, in relevant part that: 

The Federal Government shall not be liable for any claim based upon the exercise or performance of or the failure to exercise or perform a discretionary function or duty on the part of a Federal agency or an employee of the Federal Government in carrying out the provisions of this chapter. 42 U.S.C § 5148.

Stafford Act immunity for Katrina debris removal decisions by FEMA – St. Tammany Parish v. Federal Emergency Management Agency, 556 F.3d 307 (5th Cir. 2009)

Order Denying FEMA Extension – SANTOS v FEMA, No. CV 18-40111-TSH, 2018 WL 4168993 (D. Mass. Aug. 30, 2018)

CRS, Federal Disaster Assistance Response and Recovery Programs: Brief Summaries (2018)

The Geology and Hydrology of the Mississippi Delta

Master WWW page

Ellet, Charles. Report on the overflows of the delta of the Mississippi. AB Hamilton, 1852.

Humphreys, A. A., & Abbot, H. L. (1861). Report upon the physics and hydraulics of the Mississippi river: Upon the protection of the alluvial region against overflow; and upon the deepening of the mouths … Submitted to the Bureau of Topographical Engineers, War Department, 1861. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co.

Fisk, H.N., 1944, Geological investigation of the alluvial valley of the lower Mississippi River: U.S. Department of the Army, Mississippi River Commission, 78p.

Fisk, Harold Norman. Geological investigation of the Atchafalaya Basin and the problem of Mississippi River diversion. Waterways Experiment Station, 1952.

Roger T Saucier, Recent geomorphic history of the Pontchartrain Basin, Louisiana, (1962).

James M Coleman & Lynn D Wright, Analysis of Major River Systems and Their Deltas: Procedures and Rationale, with Two Examples., (1971).

Moore, Norman R. Improvement of the lower Mississippi River and tributaries, 1931-1972. Vicksburg, Miss.: Mississippi River Commission, 1972.

Kazmann, Raphael Gabriel, and David B Johnson. “If the Old River Control Structure Fails?” (1980).

Saucier, R. T., 1994, Geomorphology and Quaternary Geologic History of the Lower Mississippi Valley: U. S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Map – Quaternary Geology of The Lower Mississippi Valley, Louisiana Geological Survey, 1989.

Louis D Britsch & E Burton Kemp III, Land loss rates: Mississippi River Deltaic Plain (1990).

Joseph B Dunbar, Louis D Britsch & EB Kemp III, Land Loss Rates. Report 2. Louisiana Chenier Plain (1990).

Joseph B Dunbar, LD Britsch & E Burton Kemp, Land loss rates. Report 3. Louisiana Coastal Plain (1992).

California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment – Executive Summary (2018)

WWW site – http://www.climateassessment.ca.gov/

California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment – Statewide Summary (2018)

The Statewide Summary Report presents an overview of the main findings from California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, to translate the state of climate science into useful information for action. This report presents findings in the context of existing climate science, including strategies to adapt to climate impacts and key research gaps needed to spur additional progress on safeguarding California from climate change.

California’s Changing Climate 2018: A Summary of Key Findings from California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment

California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment provides information to build resilience to climate impacts, including temperature, wildfire, water, sea level rise, and governance. Here you can view a snapshot of the key findings of the Fourth Assessment. For additional information, please download the Key Findings brochure.

ASSESSING AND COMMUNICATING THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA COAST (2018)

Over the course of this and the next century, the combination of rising sea levels, severe storms, and coastal erosion will threaten the sustainability of coastal communities, development, and ecosystems as we currently know them. To clearly identify coastal vulnerabilities and develop appropriate adaptation strategies for projected increased levels of coastal flooding and erosion, coastal managers need user-friendly planning tools based on the best available climate and coastal science. In anticipation of these climate change impacts, many communities are in the early stages of climate change adaptation planning but lack the scientific information and tools to adequately address the potential impacts. In collaboration with leading scientists worldwide, the USGS designed the Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) to assess the coastal impacts of climate change for the California coast, including the combination of sea level rise, storms, and coastal change. In this project, we directly address the needs of coastal resource managers in Southern California by integrating a vast range of global climate change projections and translate that information using sophisticated physical process models into planning-scale physical, ecological, and economic exposure, shoreline change, and impact assessments, all delivered in two simple, user-friendly, online tools. Our results show that by the end of the 21st century, over 250,000 residents and nearly $40 billion in building value across Southern California could be exposed to coastal flooding from storms, sea level rise, and coastal change. Results for the other major population center in California (the greater San Francisco Bay Area) are also available but not explicitly discussed in this report. Together, CoSMoS has now assessed the exposure of 95% of the 26 million coastal residents of the State (17 million in Southern California).

 

Hurricane Harvey: Texas at Risk Page

Hurricane Harvey: Texas at Risk, Texas General Land Office (2018)

Recommendation #4

The state legislature should establish by state statute a Regional Building Code District (RBCD) with standard-setting authority in the high-risk hurricane region of Southeast Texas which would replace the existing weak and uneven building code system. The Commission would have oversight over building codes in the RBCD which will be composed of the following ten Councils of Government or regional planning areas: Lower Rio Grande Valley, Coastal Bend, Golden Crescent Regional Planning Commission, Houston-Galveston Area, Central Texas, Alamo Area, Brazos Valley, Capital Area, Deep East Texas, and South East Texas. These are the areas historically most at risk of hurricane flooding and wind damage.

Recommendation #5

The state should fund at least 75% of the salary costs of building code enforcement (local inspectors and third-party contractors working for cities and counties) with 25% funded by building permit fees in this new Regional Building Code District. The same capacity strengthening salary program should be extended by the State of Texas for city and county recovery managers.

 

UNDERWATER Podcast – 2016 Louisiana Flood – created by students at the University of Louisiana

https://sites.google.com/view/underwaterpodcast/

Between August 11 and August 15, 2016 more than 3 times the amount of rainfall from Hurricane Katrina fell in a massive rainstorm, mostly over Southern Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico.

Student and Faculty researchers have collaborated to present accounts from those affected by these historic and unnamed floods, beginning with the Lafayette area, in a podcast series entitled UNDERWATER: Memories of the 2016 Floods.

OHIO RIVER BASIN– Formulating Climate Change Mitigation/Adaptation Strategies through Regional Collaboration with the ORB Alliance

Generally, modeling results indicate a gradual increase in annual mean temperatures between 2011 and 2040 amounting to one-half degree per decade, with greater increases between 2041 and 2099 of one full degree per decade. Hydrologic flow changes show substantial variability across the ORB through the three time periods, with Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC)-4 sub-basins located northeast, east, and south of the Ohio River expected to experience greater precipitation and thus higher stream flows—up to 50% greater—during most of the three 30-year periods. Conversely, those HUC-4s located north and west of the Ohio River are expected to experience ever-decreasing precipitation (especially during the autumn season) resulting in decreased in-stream flows—up to 50% less—during the same periods.

South Asia’s Hotspots : Impacts of Temperature and Precipitation Changes on Living Standards

South Asia's Hotspots : Impacts of Temperature and Precipitation Changes on Living Standards

The Report – Mani, Muthukumara, Sushenjit Bandyopadhyay, Shun Chonabayashi, Anil Markandya, and Thomas Mosier. “South Asia’s Hotspots.” (2018).

From the World Bank site:

South Asia is highly vulnerable to climate change. Average temperatures have been rising throughout the region, and rainfall has become more erratic. These changes are projected to continue accruing over the coming decades.South Asia’s Hotspots: The Impact of Temperature and Precipitation Changes on Living Standards is the first book of its kind to provide granular spatial analysis of the long-term impacts of changes in average temperature and precipitation on one of the world’s poorest regions. South Asia’s Hotspots finds that higher temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns will reduce living standards in communities across South Asia—locations that the book terms “hotspots.” More than 800 million people in South Asia currently live in communities that are projected to become hotspots under a carbon-intensive climate scenario. Global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will reduce the severity of hotspots. Diverse and robust development is the best overall prescription to help people in hotspots. The book also suggests actions tailored to each country in the region—such as increasing employment in nonagricultural sectors, improving educational attainment, and expanding access to electricity— that would offset the declines in living standards associated with hotspots. South Asia’s Hotspots complements previous studies detailing the impacts of sea-level rise and extreme events on the people of South Asia. Together, these bodies of work create a sound analytical basis for investing in targeted policies and actions to build climate resilience throughout the region.

Takings Cases Relevant to Climate Change

Miller v. Campbell Cty., 722 F. Supp. 687 (D.Wyo. 1989) – Temporary forced evacuation from home is not a taking for 42 USC 1983

Harris Cty. Flood Control Dist. v. Kerr, 499 S.W.3d 793, 795 (Tex. 2016), reh’g denied (Oct. 21, 2016) – no takings by failing to enforce flood control plan.

Litz v. Maryland Dep’t of Env’t, 446 Md. 254, 131 A.3d 923 (2016), reconsideration denied (Mar. 24, 2016) – It is possible for a plaintiff to state a claim for inverse condemnation by pleading governmental inaction in the face of an affirmative duty to act.