Qualitative Approaches to Understanding Changing Geographies of Flood Mitigation Policies

Authors: Ria Mukerji*, University of New Mexico
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability
Keywords: flood hazards, risk, vulnerability, adaptation
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 7
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In 2016 the Amite River Basin experienced catastrophic levels of flooding. One of the hardest hit
areas was the city of Central. It is a city that will quickly see the effects of a migrating coastline and
is a relatively newly developed area, expanding in to the 100 year floodplain in 2005. This paper
addresses questions of how human adjustments to flooding can be reconciled with existing
government policies and whether these adjustments should be jumpstarted at the community level.
I utilize a review of public policies and first hand interviews to understand the history of flood
policies in Central and to incorporate the knowledge of both long time and new residents of the
town. The results of this comparative analysis indicate a lack in evolution of government policy to
match the speed of development into flood-prone areas, the recent growth in public expressions
about flood safety and the lack of prior adaptations taking coastal encroachment into consideration
when planning adaptation and mitigation strategies. The qualitative nature of this project is critical
to understanding the relationship between public opinion and the speed and nature of both
development into the floodplain and government responses to the flood of 2016. The best ways to
increase a community’s resilience to natural hazards is to give them power in the decision making
process. It is only through direct interaction that we can ensure communities have the proper
resources to be able to succeed in leading the way in a more fluid policy arena.

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