National Flood Insurance Hurts Endangered Species: NOAA Opinion

Biological Opinion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program in the State of Oregon
National Marine Fisheries Service
http://1.usa.gov/1Wegl1x

[Audubon Society Press Release] …the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) concluded that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) must change its implementation of the National Flood Insurance Program in Oregon to better protect imperiled salmon, steelhead and Southern Resident Killer Whales. In its biological opinion (BiOp), NMFS concludes that FEMA’s flood insurance program violates the Endangered Species Act by subsidizing development in floodplains that jeopardize the continued existence of salmon, steelhead and Southern Resident Killer Whales and adversely modifies the designated critical habitat of anadromous fish species in Oregon…

NMFS Writes: “NMFS concludes that the proposed action is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of 16 ESA listed anadromous fish species and Southern Resident killer whales, and it will result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated or proposed critical habitat for the 16 anadromous fish species. A reasonable and prudent alternative (RPA) is included in this opinion.”

FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program provides low-cost federally subsidized flood insurance to cover risks incurred through construction or rebuilding in areas prone to flooding. Without federal taxpayers footing the bill to cover the inevitable damage to such risky developments, much of the building in flood zones – and damage to important salmon habitat in these areas – would not occur. Due to increased losses in floodplains in recent years, the national flood insurance program is more than $24 billion of dollars in the red.

NMFS’ Oregon BiOp is the result of a lawsuit brought in 2009 against FEMA by Audubon Society of Portland, Northwest Environmental Defense Center, National Wildlife Federation and the Association of NW Steelheaders…

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