Discovery Phase

Phase One of the Risk Map Process Path

(Click to enlarge)

A watershed is selected for Discovery based on risk, need, available topographic data, and other factors. The data that FEMA has readily available is gathered and prepared at the national and regional level. For a complete picture of a communities’ flood risk, FEMA relies heavily on information and data provided by the community itself. Community participation prior to Discovery is necessary to assure that FEMA has the most up to date understanding of a communities’ flood risk.

Watershed Selected for Discovery

During this initial phase, FEMA and local and state entities work together to collect data regarding local flood risks. FEMA has data on national and regional levels, however FEMA relies heavily on information and data provided by communities because local officials are able to provide a holistic view of their communities and their known risks. A watershed is selected for Discovery based on evaluations of risk, need, availability of elevation data, regional knowledge of issues, and input from the state and Cooperating Technical Partners. After this data is collected, the study is evaluated on an extensive list of criteria.

Next Steps

    FEMA and State Entities

  • FEMA develops Watershed Engagement Strategy
  • Inform Congressionals of Discovery watershed areas
  • Contact communities within watershed
  • Review "Trifecta" factors with locals
  • Develop watershed partnerships
  • Review watershed for project areas
  • Local Community Officials

  • Local officials engage residents about flood risk at local events
  • Locals submit all available data to FEMA
  • Review current flood hazard maps
  • FEMA/State and Communities

  • Discuss possible outreach oportunities within the watershed
  • Products/Tools Prepared for Use

  • Pre-Discovery Newsletter
  • DVD testimonal (optional)

Discovery Back to top

The Discovery Meeting is likely the first face-to-face meeting the project team will have with watershed stakeholders. All watershed stakeholders are invited to the Discovery Meeting. For watersheds with many communities or encompassing a large area, it may be necessary to hold multiple meetings in different locations throughout the watershed. The data and information collected during Discovery is analyzed and summarized prior to the Discovery Meeting in the draft Discovery Report. The draft Discovery Map and Report are used to aid discussions of the data and provide meeting attendees an overview of flood risk in the watershed.

Next Steps

    FEMA and State Entities

  • Review Discovery Meeting input/findings
  • Update CNMS Database
  • Disseminate project selection to communities
  • Analyze comments and watershed for final project selection
  • Local Community Officials

  • Identify local flood hazard/risk concerns
  • Locals deliver additional available data to FEMA
  • Review project selection and provide comments to FEMA
  • Products/Tools Prepared for Use

  • Discovery Map
  • Discovery Process Newsletter
  • HAZUS Annualized Average Loss (AAL) "Risk" Profile
  • Coordinated Needs Management Strategy (CNMS) "Need" Profile
  • Discovery Report

Important Points to Remember:

  • Discovery allows communities within a watershed to come together to develop partnership, share flood risk information with FEMA and identify opportunities for mitigation action within the community.

Project Area Selection Back to top

If it is determined after the Discovery Meeting that a flood risk project is not appropriate, the final Discovery Report will be updated to reflect that decision. If a flood risk project is appropriate for the watershed and the project involves flood engineering analysis, the project team will conduct additional coordination with the impacted communities to discuss anticipated changes to the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) and Flood Insurance Study (FIS).

Next Steps

    FEMA and State Entities

  • Finalize Project Scope
  • Inform Congressionals of project selection
  • Local Community Officials

  • Locals deliver additional available data
  • Locals officials engage residents about flood risk at local events
  • FEMA/State and Communities

  • Discuss possible outreach opportunities within the watershed
  • Products/Tools Prepared for Use

  • First Pass Analysis (optional)

Project Kick-off Meeting Back to top

The Kick-Off Meeting marks the official start of the risk identification and assessment for the project areas selected based on the Discovery data and the need for a flood risk identification project. During the Kickoff Meeting the FEMA study team and community officials will review the scope of the projects, requirements for both the communities and the study team, draft schedules, and assign tasks for updates.

Next Steps

    FEMA and State Entities

  • Discuss flood risks with communities
  • Overview project scope and Risk MAP products
  • Prepare Hydrologic Analysis
  • Prepare Hydraulic Analysis
  • Prepare Draft Floodplains and Overlay Maps
  • Local Community Officials

  • Sign Cooperation Statement
  • Local officials engage residents about flood risk at local events
  • Products/Tools Prepared for Use

  • Kick-Off Newsletter
  • Data Acquisition Newsletter
  • Hydrology and Hydraulics Newsletter
  • Areas of Mitigation Interest

The intent of Risk MAP is to foster awareness public awareness of local natural hazard risk in order to make educated decisions for your home and family. Fully implemented, Risk MAP will result in a more informed public that is empowered to take action to reduce its flood risk. Click here to learn more about what you can do to take action.

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