Durbin Announces $1.6 Million for Flood Protection Efforts in Woodford County

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that Woodford County has been awarded a $1,579,493 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for flood protection efforts.


“This project will protect the health, safety and welfare of Woodford County residents,” said Durbin. “By supporting flood control efforts, this federal funding will help reduce costs to the local government there for emergency rescue, infrastructure repair, debris removal and emergency shelters. During a time when local communities are facing major budget shortfalls, this federal investment will make an important difference.”


The proposed project will involve the voluntary acquisition and demolition of fourteen residential structures that are located in the Illinois River floodway. Acquiring these properties will allow Woodford County to establish a permanent open space in areas that flood repeatedly. This will reduce damages and lessen the impact of flooding to the local community. Deed restrictions will also be placed on the property to prohibit future development and dedicate the land to open space in perpetuity.


Today’s grant was awarded through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) which provides grants to States and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration. The purpose of the HMGP is to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster.


Buying flood-prone property is one of many approaches to mitigating natural flood hazards. Unlike other hazard mitigation techniques, such as elevating homes (e.g., on pilings) above flood levels or building a dike, however, voluntary purchase projects permanently reduce a community’s vulnerability to flooding by moving people out of harm’s way. Property purchased through this program is often used to create public open space such as parks, wildlife refuges, and ball fields.