Encourage your legislator to cosponsor bills LRB 0829/1 and LRB 2504/1 establishing this State Pre-disaster Flood Resilience Grant program.

A bill establishing a State Pre-disaster Flood Resilience Grant is circulating for co-sponsorship and we need your help to ensure this bill is introduced with strong bi-partisan support.

This proposal is WWA’s top legislative priority this session. It will help flood-prone communities identify and address the root causes of flooding and emphasizes the types of hydrologic assessment and restoration work that the Wisconsin Wetlands Association (WWA) has championed in Wisconsin’s Lake Superior basin.

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 proposal was crafted at the invitation of lead author Representative Loren Oldenburg (Viroqua), who convened a diverse group of agencies and organizations in 2021 to explore policy ideas that could help Wisconsin’s flood-prone communities prevent and recover from storm-related disasters. WWA, Wisconsin Towns Association, and Wisconsin Trout Unlimited teamed up to collaborate with Oldenburg and his staff to develop a proposal that meets the needs of local governments, addresses root causes, and elevates the use of nature-based flood risk reduction strategies. Senator Quinn (Cameron) and Representative Novak (Dodgeville) also provided key leadership as co-authors to support the introduction of this bill.

Please contact your State Senator and Representative to ask them to cosponsor bills LRB 0829/1 and LRB 2504/1 establishing this State Pre-disaster Flood Resilience Grant program. Early bipartisan support improves the chances that this legislation will become law.

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

  • It breaks the cycle of post-disaster recovery 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.

Additional background for you and/or your legislator includes the co-sponsorship memo and draft bill.

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

To help us track the bill’s reception, please consider forwarding responses you receive from your legislators to WWA’s Jennifer Western Hauser at Jennifer.WesternHauser@wisconsinwetlands.org.

With your support, we hope to see this important State Pre-disaster Flood Resilience Grant program established (this bill) and funded (through a separate budget appropriation) by the legislature this session!

For more info on the bill or how you can help advocate for enactment, contact Jennifer Western Hauser at Jennifer.WesternHauser@wisconsinwetlands.org.

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