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The National Flood Insurance Program and the Impacts of the Biological Opinion

Recent court decisions and federal administrative actions connected to the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) have required 122 units of local and tribal governments in the Puget Sound region in Washington State to make changes in how they administer the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This is an ongoing process due to pending litigation and the complexities of determining the needed changes. Although presently limited to the Puget Sound region, future lawsuits or decisions by FEMA may extend the geographic area covered to more areas in Washington.

A Biological Opinion (BiOp) has been issued governing the administration of the NFIP within the Puget Sound basin. BiOps are prepared under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and evaluate whether projects or programs are likely to harm the survival and recovery of an endangered species. They also include "reasonable and prudent alternatives" that must be implemented. Cities and counties that must comply with (BiOp) requirements need a variety of information and resources. The Washington State Association of Counties (WSAC) and the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) are pleased to partner with the Municipal Research Services Center (MRSC) in developing these webpages to provide the information. Funding was provided by the Washington State Department of Commerce to develop the webpages as a resource to assist cities and counties in the challenge of meeting their obligations under the NFIP and the BiOp. If you have any comments or information you would like to see added to this series of pages, please contact Neil Aaland or call (360) 791-8905.

The information provided has been developed and collected to understand the range of issues associated with floodplain management and the Endangered Species Act.

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Last Modified: May 12, 2016