WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation, today attended a hearing to consider the economic impact of the Digital Coast partnership, which is a program developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide wetlands and flood exposure data to local governments.
Wicker directed his first question to Paul Barnes, who is the Director of Geographic Information Services for Harrison County, Miss. Wicker asked Barnes how the mapping service can save taxpayer dollars and contribute to economic development.
“The big economic impact has to do with resilience. If we plan properly we are able to ensure we do not build infrastructure, or public facilities, or even residential structures in areas that are vulnerable for flood risk and storm surge,” Barnes said. “The real economic development impact is being able to recover, quickly.”
Barnes emphasized the project benefits governments of all sizes.
“From the have nots to the have all, it helps everyone,” Barnes said.
Wicker also asked Nicole Leboeuf, Deputy Assistant Administrator for NOAA, to comment on the 2018 CoreLogic Storm Surge report, which was compiled using information from NOAA and Digital Coast. The report from CoreLogic shows that more than 6.9 million homes along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts are at a potential risk of damage from hurricane storm surge inundation.
Other witnesses at today’s hearing included:
- David Millar, Director of Government Accounts, Americas, Fugro; and
- Mr. Tyson Fettes, Register of Deeds, Racine County, Wisconsin.