Federal officials from Washington D.C. are getting a firsthand look at erosion and flooding problems in the Mat-Su.

Mat-Su Borough staff and assembly members met with David Maurstad, the deputy associate administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s flood insurance programs.

The group toured an area south of the Matanuska River bridge near Palmer that’s been heavily eroded over the past few years.

Maurstad said it’s important for government agencies and communities to have emergency plans and for people to be prepared on their own for a disaster too.

He said flood insurance plays a major role in recovery, because homeowner’s or renter’s insurance may not always cover the damage.

“One inch of water can cause up to $25,000 word of damage, so it doesn’t take a whole lot of water to really create a financial burden for a homeowner or a renter. Insurance just makes sense, it’s your first line of defense,” Maurstad said.

Borough flood plain administrator Taunnie Boothby said FEMA has been helping the borough remap their flood plain, a project that started in 2013.

“We knew they were woefully out of date,” Boothby said, adding that the previous data used was from more than 50 years ago.

She said the new maps will likely be adopted this summer and will be implemented in the fall.

“That will change the requirement for flood insurance for a lot of people,” Boothby said.

During Maurstad’s visit to Alaska, he’ll also tour Anchorage to see how building codes after the 1964 earthquake helped structures withstand the Nov. 30 earthquake last year.


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