Shamokin’s preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps may go into effect this summer, and SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) is working to help residents prepare for its impacts thanks to a $130,000 state grant.

The updated Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) show a larger 100-year floodplain area than the 2008 maps. The maps may require more residents to pursue flood mitigation measures such as purchasing flood insurance.

The maps were originally slated to go into effect this summer, but the COVID-19 pandemic may affect its timing.

To confirm the maps’ findings, SEDA-COG is conducting a Hydrologic & Hydraulic (H&H) Study for Shamokin Creek and its tributaries, which will include recommendations from a professional engineer, to help the City of Shamokin identify how the water moves and how to address its impacts.

The $130,000 grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) is funding the study.

Betsy Kramer, SEDA-COG revitalization coordinator, thanked state Sen. John Gordner (R-27) and state Rep. Kurt Masser (R-Columbia/Montour/Northumberland) who helped secure the funding.

“We are grateful for their assistance with this grant which will benefit Shamokin residents. Flooding impacts communities regularly, but so does its costs. We want to assure residents with this study that the mitigation measures are truly needed as well as recommending the best solutions possible,” Kramer said.

SEDA-COG will leverage the grant and study in two key ways – by implementing solutions and educating residents on proactive approaches, said Teri Provost, SEDA-COG’s director of Flood Resiliency.

“After the study is complete, the City of Shamokin will be better poised to take further action to address the concerns surrounding the proposed development and the revitalization of the city. The study will provide public awareness and technical assistance to property owners on how they can better prepare themselves prior to the new FIRMs becoming effective this summer,” Provost said.

Mitigation measures could include a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR), which could revise the Flood Insurance Rate Map, as well as implementation projects to mitigate the potential for flooding and improve resiliency for properties within the 100-year floodplain.

Conducting the H&H Study was an initiative addressed by the City of Shamokin’s Act 47 Three-Year Exit Plan which was released on Dec. 17, 2019.

SEDA-COG’s Flood Resiliency Program offers services related to flood resiliency and mitigation assistance both within and outside of its 11-county region. Its goal is to help break the damage cycle and stop its drain on people and communities. For more information, visit http://seda-cog.org/departments/flood-resiliency/.

As a community and economic development agency, SEDA-COG enhances the quality of life and economic advantage for residents and businesses in 11 central Pennsylvania counties through its vital partnerships and initiatives. SEDA-COG also is an advocate for the interests of its communities at the state and federal levels. For more information, visit www.seda-cog.org