CRS Community uses Public Outreach—and Public Reaches Back
“The Community Rating System has motivated everyone in our community to help reduce flooding,” says Luz Locke, Environmental Services Coordinator for Pasadena, Texas, a city with a population of 144,000 within the Houston metropolitan area. “And that helps the entire community, not just those who are in the floodplain.”
Pasadena occupies 44 square miles of predominantly flat land adjoining coastal marshes and the Gulf of Mexico. Its people face flooding from hurricanes, tropical storms, and storm surges from the nearby Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay. With three major bayous and 121 miles of open channel, there also is potential for periodic riverine flooding. Most buildings are slab-on-grade, susceptible to damage from shallow flooding and drainage problems.
Pasadena has carried out a vigorous flood loss reduction and mitigation program for many years, featuring many CRS-credited activities. Maintenance of the drainage system and managing stormwater are two key aspects, along with implementation of many higher regulatory standards.
An ongoing acquisition and relocation program, removing severe repetitive flood loss properties out of risk of flooding, has played a significant role in the success of Pasadena’s program. A combination of public and private funding makes buyouts possible, and has resulted in in large parcels of land reserved for community outdoor activities and stormwater retention—and deeded as open space in perpetuity.
Pasadena joined the CRS in its formative years, in 1991, and now holds a Class 5 rating. “Our CRS rating has resulted in $340,000 annual savings in flood insurance premiums for residents. This is money that stays in our community and we all benefit from it,” explains Locke.
According to Locke, the CRS has been a tremendous help to the city in getting its flood loss reduction efforts better organized. With CRS guidance, the City’s outreach program has become a backbone of positive give-and-take with residents.
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