INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Following the devastating Midwest floods, a regional Interagency Levee Task Force (ILTF) has been established to achieve a rapid and effective response to the region's battered levees. The mission is to restore and maintain levees for the balance of this flood season and also to prepare for a time beyond that.
The ILTF is a collaborative effort among numerous federal, state and local agencies. It will address immediate needs ? repairing damaged levees ? before the next flood, while simultaneously evaluating long-term restoration plans for the area's floodplain management.
The task force will be headed up by Brig. Gen. Michael J. Walsh of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) ? the lead agency.
"Not only will we address the immediate needs," said Brig. Gen. Walsh. "But, this is also an opportunity to identify potential long-term alternatives and actions to reduce flood risk in the future."
The task force sees its long range mission as saving lives and property by using lessons learned from this event and incorporating them into flood mitigation plans for the impacted areas. Mitigation is any action taken to reduce the impact of future disasters. Many state and local emergency managers either have detailed mitigation plans in place or are in the process of creating them. ?
The task force brings together a broad spectrum of federal agencies including:
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA),
- Department of Commerce (Economic Development Administration and National Marine Fisheries Service)
- Department of the Interior (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Geological Survey)
- Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Department of Transportation
- Department of Agriculture (Natural Resources Conservation Service)
- U.S. Small Business Administration
Also included are representatives from the various state agencies, Native American Tribes and representatives from Upper Mississippi River Basin Association (UMBRA).
The diversity of representation recognizes the shared responsibility for floodplain management among all levels of government and will ensure coordination and collaboration between federal and state agencies within their respective jurisdictions. Since responsibilities for levees falls under various jurisdictions, bringing together all the responsible parties will provide a coordinated "one-stop shopping" process for applicants seeking federal assistance for levee restoration and other assistance.?
All alternatives for reducing vulnerability of flood risk management systems will be considered. This includes non-structural measures such as expanded floodways or ecosystems. Applicants will also be able to pursue potential funding mechanisms from represented agencies in order to address other levee requirements and study efforts upstream of the flood affected areas.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.