Flood Resilience Policy Forum

June 14-15, 2019, Kimpton Hotel Monaco, Baltimore 

Agenda and Presentations

The NCSL Flood Resilience Policy Forum brought policymakers together with experts to discuss the multi-faceted role states play in mitigating flood disasters. The meeting provided a platform for discussing lessons learned, sharing the challenges states face, and exploring options to implement and pay for mitigation efforts.

State legislators and legislative staff from the following 13 states attended: Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.  

This meeting was made possible through the generous support of The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Federal Update

An overview of federal programs and how states are or may be impacted.

Moderator: Lucia Bragg, NCSL


  • Eric Letvin, deputy assistant administrator for mitigation, FEMA | Presentation
  • Jordan Dorfman, senior attorney-advisor, WIFIA program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Presentation

The New Normal: Lessons Learned from Recent Flood Events 

Recent flood events from hurricanes and storm-related river flooding are disrupting 100- and 500-year floodplain models. What lessons have states learned from recent events and how will that change how they plan for and mitigate the impacts of future events? 

Moderator: Jennifer Schultz, NCSL


  • Representative Richard Yow (R-S.C.) | Presentation
  • Representative Charles Isenhart (D-Iowa) | Presentation
  • Kathleen Ligon, Texas Water Development Board 
  • Gerry Galloway, Glenn L. Martin Institute professor of engineering, University of Maryland; UMD Center for Disaster Resilience | Presentation

Nature-Based Solutions

This session explored how green infrastructure, such as living shorelines and wetlands restoration, can help communities prepare for flooding. 

Moderator: Josh Kurtz, director of policy development, The Nature Conservancy | Presentation


  • Todd Miller, founder and executive director, North Carolina Coastal Federation | Presentation
  • Janine Harris, marine habitat resource specialist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Presentation

Designing for Disaster

A discussion of policies and programs that can strengthen community resilience including broad infrastructure planning, building codes and other strategies that can significantly diminish damage, reduce the cost of recovery and save lives. 

Moderator: Forbes Tompkins, The Pew Charitable Trusts


  • Whitford Remer, counsel and director of public policy, Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety 
  • Nicholas Bonard, branch chief, Water Resources Protection & Mitigation, Washington, D.C., Resilience Office 

Maryland Deep Dive (held at the National Aquarium)

Connecting on flood risk across the state of Maryland.   

Moderator: Delegate Dana Stein (D-Md.) | Presentation


  • Gerry Galloway, Glenn L. Martin Institute professor of engineering, University of Maryland; UMD Center for Disaster Resilience | Presentation
  • Kyle Overly, director of disaster risk reduction, Maryland Emergency Management Agency | Presentation

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Virginia Deep Dive 

Connecting on flood risk across the Commonwealth of Virginia.   

Moderator: Andria McClellan, city councilwoman, Norfolk City Council | Presentation


  • Joshua Saks, deputy secretary of natural resources, Commonwealth of Virginia
  • James Redick, director, Emergency Preparedness and Response, City of Norfolk | Presentation
  • Pamela Braff, Ph.D. Student, Center for Coastal Resources Management, Virginia Institute of Marine Science | Presentation

Proactive & Prepared: Financing for Flood Risk Reduction  

Flood mitigation revolving loan funds and other innovative financing mechanisms such as stormwater utility fees or Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans to help pay for infrastructure upgrades necessary to mitigate the effects of flooding. are an increasingly popular mechanism for funding pre-disaster mitigation. 

Moderator: Kim Tyrrell, NCSL


  • Matthew Fuchs, officer, The Pew Charitable Trusts 
  • Kathleen Ligon, assistant director, Texas Water Development Board 
  • Delegate Courtney Watson (D-Md.) 

Additional Resources