City of Kent NFIP Biological Opinion Compliance and FEMA Region X Guidance

City of Kent Along Green River Floodplain

Located in the heart of Washington’s Green River Valley, Kent features breathtaking views of Mount Rainier and the Cascade Mountains. It lies within the historic Green River floodplain in a landscape that includes industrial and commercial uses, as well as residential development. This Puget Sound community located 18 miles south of Seattle is now faced with environmental issues and insurance uncertainties related to the administration of the FEMA National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Like other local governments in the Puget Sound area, Kent is working hard to comply with the recent findings of a National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Biological Opinion and FEMA’s NFIP to protect threatened species—specifically, listed salmonid species and associated habitat, under the Endangered Species Act. The future development of areas located within the City’s historic floodplain is in question. Local governments like Kent have been tasked with responding to the Biological Opinion and meeting FEMA requirements to insure continuing coverage under the NFIP.

ESA’s fish biologists and Kent staff collaborated on a Best Available Science review and GIS analysis. Together, we assessed existing environmental functions within the City’s floodplain areas and evaluated land use regulations for riparian zones within the valley. We then focused on identifying consistency or gaps between Kent's regulations and FEMA requirements for compliance with NFIP Biological Opinion. Our findings demonstrated that implementation of the Kent's existing regulations already results in compliance with many of FEMA’s requirements for the protection of federally listed species during floodplain development or redevelopment.

We recommended several enhancements to City regulations to achieve full consistency with NFIP Biological Opinion guidance. These enhancements, along with Kent’s active habitat restoration efforts will result in a net increase in floodplain and riparian functions.

Specialized Services

  • Community and ecosystem adaptation plans
  • Floodplain mapping
  • Habitat restoration and enhancement
  • Modeling and analysis
  • Park and land management plans
  • Project website; social media management and communication materials development
  • Shoreline and coastal plans
  • Watershed assessments

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City of Kent