Update: The Wisconsin State Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 222 to establish a Pre-Disaster Flood Resilience Grant! Thank you, Wisconsin State Senators, for taking action to help flood-prone communities examine their flood vulnerabilities and restore wetlands to reduce flood risk! The bill still has to pass through the Assembly and be signed by the Governor, but this is encouraging progress and great news for wetlands.

Tomorrow, June 7th, the Wisconsin State Senate is scheduled to vote on Senate Bill (SB) 222, creating a State Pre-disaster Flood Resilience Grant! With your help, this legislation was introduced with strong bipartisan cosponsorship and has the registered support of nearly 20 organizations!

Please contact your State Senator and ask them to vote in favor of SB 222 on the Senate Floor on June 7th.  Also consider sharing your support with your State Representative as we look forward to the bill coming before the State Assembly before too long.

SB 222 (and identical companion legislation in the Assembly – AB 222) will help flood-prone communities identify and address the root causes of flooding and enable hydrologic assessment and restoration focused on restoring the landscape’s natural capacity to reduce flooding. Specifically, the pre-disaster flood resilience grant program will enable:

  • Watershed, catchment, or stream reach scale vulnerability assessments to better understand where and how water flows and contributes to risks; and
  • The design, engineering, and construction of wetland, stream, and floodplain restoration projects to increase flood storage, decrease peak flows, and protect vulnerable infrastructure.

This legislation is WWA’s top priority, and we are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with lead authors Representative Loren Oldenburg (Viroqua) and Senator Romaine Quinn (Cameron), along with the Wisconsin Towns Association, Wisconsin Trout Unlimited, and many others on the development of this proposal.

Please contact your State Senator and Representative to share your support for SB 222 and AB 222 – The State Pre-disaster Flood Resilience Grant Legislation—and ask them to vote yes when these bills come before them.

To find your legislators, you can use the Who Are My Legislators webpage and enter your address in the upper right-hand box.

When communicating with your legislator, key points to emphasize about the proposed program include:

  • It breaks the cycle of post-disaster response and empowers local communities to address flood vulnerabilities before flooding events occur.
  • It prioritizes work in areas that have been the site of flood-related presidentially-declared disasters, governor-declared states of emergency, or where a local hazard mitigation plan identifies exposure to flood risk.
  • It is watershed-based and recognizes that wetland and floodplain restoration is a critical, cost-effective, and underutilized flood-risk reduction strategy that provides many other co-benefits.
  • It builds knowledge and accountability so lessons learned from funded projects can be used to improve flood risk reduction strategies in other communities.

In connection with SB 222 & AB 222, we are also closely tracking and supporting action by the Joint Committee on Finance to allocate funding for this program in the 2023-25 state budget.

Please feel free to share your communication or legislative responses with WWA’s Policy Liaison, Jennifer Western Hauser at: Jennifer.westernhauser@wisconsinwetlands.org. This can be helpful as we continue to advocate for the bills at the State Capitol!

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