Floodplain buyouts are a flood mitigation strategy of acquiring frequently flooded properties and returning them to open space. A primary source of federal funding for post-flood buyouts is the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Unfortunately, these funds can take months or years to make it into the hands of property owners. Such long delays in executing a buyout after a flood miss important opportunities and increase costs.
In this article, the authors propose three solutions for speeding delivery of funds and improving the efficacy of the HMGP buyouts: (1) the cost-share requirement of HMGP could be reduced or eliminated for buyouts; (2) buyout funding could be fast-tracked or reimbursed; and (3) more buyout planning could be done pre-disaster.