Mapping Flood Risks and Connecting Communities to Federal Support

United States

Featured image for the project, Mapping Flood Risks and Connecting Communities to Federal Support


The environmental crisis is global, but its impacts are felt locally, especially in low income and minority communities. Anthropocene Alliance (Aa) is a Florida-based non-profit organization that assists vulnerable communities across the U.S. who have been harmed by environmental abuse and climate change. Aa does this by building grassroots coalitions in the communities most badly affected. Aa provides support and training to community leaders and connects them to the government agencies and nonprofit programs that can help them the most.

Because these leaders know more about the harms they suffer than we do, and because they often possess great creativity and resilience, they are essential partners for us in the search for practical and policy solutions to our most pressing, environmental challenges. Low-income communities, particularly ones that have been historically marginalized — Black, Latino and Native American — are both more vulnerable to flooding and less likely to have access to the information and technology they need.

The Higher Ground Initiative, set to be launched in 2019, is a clinic to help flood survivors access Federal funds and resources to restart their lives. Aa’s initiative, Flood Forum USA, is currently working with 40 Flood Forums in 19 U.S. states. These forums are urban and rural, coastal and inland; they are affected by coastal, riverine and overland flooding. Higher Ground is designed to help Flood Forum leaders and their communities through the entire process, from diagnosing the problem using the best, new data and technology available, to identifying solutions such as home buyouts, elevation and green infrastructure solutions. This will be accomplished through an integrated toolkit, comprised of initial meetings, intense discussions, distribution of surveys and factsheets, organization of community events, consultation with technology partners, and most of all, the application of a set of analytical and scientific instruments that will help residents make a persuasive case to the local, state and federal agencies that command the resources.

About the Community

Anthropocene Alliance’s initiative, Flood Forum USA, is seeking assistance from two experts to work with seven communities already paired with Thriving Earth Exchange hydrologists across the United States:

Pensacola, FL; Melbourne, FL; Staten Is., NY; Hartford, CT; Virginia Beach, VA; Port Arthur, TX; New Orleans, LA

Scientist Wanted

Thriving Earth Exchange is seeking help from 2 experts to partner with Flood Forum USA’s Higher Ground initiative:

  1. Data Scientist/Mapping Expert: Identify mapping tools and datasets that can be applied across the Flood Forums. Our goal is to find a replicable and rapid way of mapping community flood risks. These may include the use of tools such as Climate Central’s Storm Surge and the Union of Concerned Scientists flood maps, or FEMA claims data (we have access to recent FEMA Individual Assistance Claims data for large tracks of the U.S.). The task involves reviewing the range of tools and data sets available (if needed coordinating with partner organizations who may have access to useful data) and selecting a few of these for use by Higher Ground. It involves creating maps in the seven pilot communities we are working with and preparing a short guidance sheet and virtual training for Flood Forum leaders nationally who are wishing to prepare similar maps for their communities.
  2. Federal Funding Expert: Help Flood Forum leaders understand the process and methodology for obtaining Federal funds and resources. Various Federal programs are available to help communities reduce their flooding risks, these include FEMA’s Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant Program, the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program and the Community Rating System. There is also HUD’s Community Development Bock Grant Disaster Relief funds, and the USACE Silver Jackets Technical Assistance. Each program has different requirements and conditions. We are looking for an expert to help us prepare factsheets, guidance and training so that communities can identify the best opportunities for their circumstances and gather the necessary information and contacts to strengthen their case for help via local, state and federal agencies. The materials will be designed to support the work of the seven pilot communities and refined for Flood Forum leaders nationally who are wishing to prepare similar maps for their communities.

Additional Required Skills and Expertise

  • Relaxed, easy going personality with a good sense of humor
  • Strong listening and communication skills
  • Competent and open to new ideas
  • Experience working in environmental justice communities preferred but not required
  • Experts can be located anywhere in the U.S.


Collaborating Organization(s)