What is the Blueprint?

The Flood Resiliency Blueprint is a statewide initiative to develop an online-decision support tool and associated planning to address flooding for communities in North Carolina’s river basins.

The Blueprint is a first-of-its-kind program in North Carolina and represents the largest statewide flood mitigation investment in state history.

When completed, the Blueprint will lead to an actionable set of projects and funding strategies that state and other government entities can implement to reduce flooding, mitigate the impacts of flooding, and increase a community’s ability to maintain and quickly resume pre-storm activities following flooding.

By making impacts from mitigation strategies clear, the Blueprint will help decision makers from the State level to individual communities make more informed choices when dealing with flooding. 

The blueprint is funded through a $20 million allocation to the Department of Environmental Quality Division of Mitigation Services from the North Carolina General Assembly.

Blueprint Goals

The flood resiliency blueprint will accomplish several key goals, including:

  • Develop community and basin-specific risk management processes to identify and address flooding for NC communities.
  • Develop an online decision support tool which seamlessly guides state, county, municipal, and other jurisdictions to identify and select flood mitigation strategies responsibly, systematically, equitably, and transparently.
  • Establish a repeatable, statewide methodology for prioritizing, and selecting flood mitigation strategies for future implementation.

Blueprint Strategies:

  • Online Decision Support Tool:  Develop an online decision support tool to allow end users (e.g., state agencies and regional and local governments) to seamlessly visualize flood vulnerability for different flood risk conditions and choose from a suite of flood mitigations strategies (e.g., nature-based solutions, structural and nonstructural approaches, etc.) based on the quality of the data and models available. The tool is expected produce output products like such as planning-level cost estimates and potential funding sources, and help with tasks such as evaluating costs/benefits across basin and sub-basin scales throughout the state. 
     
  • Blueprint Process Document:  Develop a documented process for conducting flood resiliency planning at multiple scales which can be applied anywhere in the state, taking into account NC basins have different flood exposure, data and modeling needs, and/or capacity.
    • Long-term Administration of Blueprint:  Design a program that allows for long-term repeatability of the decision-support tool and other Blueprint elements including, but not limited to, capacity building for municipal and state government end users, updating key data and modeling inputs, and long-term basin planning.
    • Governance and Decision Making: Recommendations for a governing body to evaluate/approve flood mitigation projects and/or additional modeling/data needs for funding (e.g. DOT, DEQ, municipal, etc.)
       
  • Basin-specific Action Strategies: Develop River Basin Specific Action Strategies for prioritized major river basins in NC to validate decision support tool and identify priority geographic areas for additional modeling efforts to support a common, statewide model.

The Blueprint also benefits from the input and advise of over 100 subject matter experts who serve on six Technical Advisory Groups. TAG members include representatives from a diverse set of backgrounds, including from Federal, State, County, Municipal, and Tribal governments; non-governmental organizations; and universities.

For more information on TAGs and to see a list of members, click here.

Next Steps

The Blueprint project is split into phases, the first of which began in December 2022.

Phase One covers the development of a draft blueprint and a mockup of the online decision support tool, along with stakeholder outreach and internal measuring to make sure that the project has clear goals and direction. Phase one will ultimately produce a Neuse River Action Strategy, allowing for testing of the decision support tool in the pilot basin. Phase one is slated to be complete in December 2023. 

Phase Two will complete development of the online decision support tool, which will run concurrent with phase one. Phase two began November 2023 and is expected to be complete by December 2024. 

Finally, Phase Three will see the application of the Blueprint planning framework and online decision support tool in additional priority river basins. This will include action strategies for certain targeted basins, which will also be used to test and validate the online support tool. Phase three will begin within the first half of 2024.

For more information, please contact Todd Kennedy, Flood Resiliency Blueprint project manager.


 

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