Press Release

UMD Experts Available for Comment on National Flood Insurance Program

MEDIA ADVISORY  March 15, 2019

Robert Herschbach

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As Congress mulls ways to bolster the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), experts from the University of Maryland’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) are available for news interviews. 

They include former FEMA deputy associate administrator Sandra Knight, infrastructure and coastal protection expert Gregory Baecher, and Gerald Galloway, who is one of the world’s leading authorities on disaster resilience and mitigation.

Knight, during her tenure at FEMA, was responsible for floodplain management and mitigation grants supporting the NFIP. Her current work focuses on disaster and water policy, building disaster-resilient communities, and promoting flood risk management initiatives.  Baecher isthe author of five books on risk, safety, and the protection of civil infrastructure; as well as more than 200 technical publications. He is a recipient of the USACE Commander's Award for Public Service for his contributions to the levee system risk analysis of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

Galloway, whose areas of focus include water resources and energy policy under conditions of climate change, has served as a consultant to the Executive Office of the President, and has assisted the US Water Resources Council, the World Bank, the Organization of American States, TVA, the Corps of Engineers, several states, and various other organizations in water resources related activities.

NFIP has been reeling for years under the burden of high-impact weather events, from Hurricane Katrina to ongoing spring floods. This week, the House Financial Services Committee held hearings on a long-term fix to the program, which has been kept afloat through a succession of stopgap measures. 

Legislation intended to revamp the NFIP has been introduced by representatives from both the Democratic and Republican parties, reflecting bipartisan concern over the fate of the program. 

UMD civil and environmental engineering faculty are deeply knowledgeable about the NFIP and closely involved with efforts to manage and mitigate natural hazards such as flooding. The CEE department is home to the Center for Disaster Resilience(CDR), which works to assist individuals, communities, and governments in developing policies to protect against catastrophic damage.

Contact information:

Knight, Sandra
Senior Research Engineer
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Areas of expertise:Disaster resilience, water and disaster policy, coastal and hydraulic engineering

Baecher, Gregory B.
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Areas of expertise: Geotechnical engineering, reliability and risk analysis, dam safety, coastal protection

Galloway, Gerald
Research Professor
Glenn L. Martin Institute Professor of Engineering
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Areas of expertise: Water resources policy and management, Disaster resilience, national security