Durbin Announces A More Than $1.5 MIllion Investment In Flood Protection Efforts in Kankakee, Illinois

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has awarded a $1,537,500 grant for flood protection efforts in Kankakee, Illinois.


“As extreme weather events like flooding continue to occur with greater frequency and severity, it is becoming increasingly important that we invest in mitigation and protection efforts,” Durbin said. “This federal funding will support flood control projects in Kankakee, helping protect the health, safety and welfare of local residents, and reducing future costs to the local government for emergency rescue, infrastructure repair, debris removal and emergency shelters.”


The proposed project will involve the voluntary acquisition and demolition of twenty residential properties regularly flooded by the Kankakee River. The land will be returned to green space, allowing flooding to occur without damage to property. It will reduce future flood insurance claims and the financial obligation of federal, state and local governments after a disaster.


Today’s grant was awarded through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program which provides grants to state and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration. The purpose of the program 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 and removing 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.