Alexandria, VA – Calling it a model other regions around the country can use to save lives, property, and infrastructure, State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Peru) spoke about the Illinois Valley Flood Resiliency Alliance (IVFRA) at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Workshop April 4 in Alexandria, VA.
“All too often, local communities go it alone when it comes to flooding, both in preparation and action, not realizing what they are doing impacts other communities upstream and downstream,” Rezin said. “The IVFRA model puts everyone on the same page - communities, local governments, and emergency personnel. That’s why I am encouraging other regions in Illinois and the country to adopt the IVFRA model and put it into practice.”
Rezin made her presentation at the NEMA workshop alongside Jeff Stern, State Coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management; Arvin Copeland, Response and Recovery Division Director for Indiana Department of Homeland Security; and James Joseph, the Director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
Attendees of the conference included state emergency management directors, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), other federal agencies, and private-sector partners.
“Flooding is a major issue for many communities along Illinois waterways,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “The Illinois Valley Flood Resiliency Alliance is an innovative, proactive approach that has brought communities together to strengthen their flood resiliency efforts. It’s a great model of how to deal with flood-fighting, flood prevention and other flood-related issues, and we would like to see other areas adopt this sensible approach.”
“I am confident that because of the Illinois Valley Flood Resiliency Alliance, the 38th Senate District is better prepared for flooding than ever before,” Rezin said. “We are continually taking proactive steps, meeting quarterly as a group, looking at grant opportunities, and learning about new flood-fighting techniques and materials so everyone in the region is working together to minimize flood losses.”
Before the NEMA conference, Sen. Rezin met with the staffs of Congressmen Adam Kinzinger, Darin LaHood, Rodney Davis, John Shimkus, and Mike Bost in Washington to explain the success stories of the IVFRA and encourage each Congressional district to adopt the model.
“It’s not a matter of ‘if’ we will have another major flood, but ‘when,’” Rezin said. “I want to thank the staffs of each Congressional office for taking the time and understanding why putting the Illinois Valley Flood Resiliency Alliance model into practice in their district will help everyone.”
The IVFRA was established in 2013 after flooding wreaked havoc in Rezin’s 38th Senate District. The IVFRA includes LaSalle, Grundy, Bureau, and Putnam counties. Because of the IVFRA, the 38th Senate District now has 24 new certified floodplain managers, which can also help property owners reduce their flood insurance rates.