Governor Cooper Issues Executive Order to Improve Resilience of State Buildings Against Flooding
Today, Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order No. 266 to improve the resilience of state buildings against flooding. The Order directs the North Carolina Department of Administration (NC DOA) to work with stakeholders to update the state’s Uniform Floodplain Management Policy.
“Using foresight and data to protect public buildings and other structures from flood damage is smart and responsible,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “Climate change is causing more intense storms and flooding so this update on floodplain management and construction requirements will save taxpayer money, protect structures and keep workers safer.”
The state’s floodplain management policy sets construction standards for state-owned buildings located in the floodplain. The policy was last updated in 1990 by then-Governor James Martin.
Executive Order No. 266 directs NC DOA to update building requirements for new state construction located in a floodplain and to develop requirements for new state buildings located outside of a floodplain that are at risk of flooding.
NC DOA will develop the updated policy over the next eighteen months with input from state agencies and interested stakeholders. The updated policy will seek to mitigate risks for state construction, minimize flood damage considering the impacts of sea level rise and climate change, and support the benefits of natural infrastructure in managing flood risk. In addition, NC DOA will evaluate the impacts of applying the policy’s requirements to state-funded building projects and expand application of the policy to state-funded projects where feasible.
The Executive Order builds on the Governor’s previous actions to improve the resilience of North Carolina’s communities. Leading climate scientists released the North Carolina Climate Science Report in 2020, which describes the current and projected impacts of climate change in North Carolina.
In October 2018, Governor Cooper established the NC Climate Change Interagency Council through Executive Order No. 80. In 2020, the council released the NC Climate Risk Assessment and Resilience Plan, which recommends measures to improve resilience in communities and government in North Carolina. The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, in partnership with other state agencies and stakeholders, released the NC Natural and Working Lands Action Plan in 2020, which recommends strategies for building ecosystem and community resilience, sequestering carbon dioxide, and providing environmental benefits that enhance our economy.
The North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality established the N.C. Resilient Communities Program to help North Carolina communities build resilience to the impacts of climate change and reduce damages from future disasters such as hurricanes, flooding and wildfires. These agencies are boosting local resilience by providing expertise, technical support, and funding to communities as they develop resilience strategic plans, prioritize local resilience projects, and design and construct priority projects.