ISWS flood mapping program wins FEMA award for outstanding efforts, Illinois State Water Survey

ISWS Press Release

For Immediate Release May 8, 2017
ISWS flood mapping program wins FEMA award for outstanding efforts
Sally McConkey - (217) 333-5482,
Lisa Sheppard - (217) 244-7270,

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - An Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) program that identifies flood hazards and helps assess mitigation alternatives to reduce flood losses in Illinois received the honorable mention award from the 1st Annual Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Cooperative Technical Partners (CTP) Recognition Program.


CPT stakeholders from across the country selected the ISWS Coordinated Hazard Assessment and Mapping Program (CHAMP) for this award. CHAMP scientists and engineers assess local flood hazards, identify high-risk areas, and engage community partners to inform and empower others to take action in preventing losses from natural hazards.

Research projects include peak flow trends, effects of urbanization, stormwater management, climate change impacts, and detailed hydrologic and hydraulic modeling. CHAMP also updates digital maps showing flood-prone areas in nearly all Illinois counties. Maps require continual reassessments because of changing land uses and climate, and as new data become available.

Floodplain maps show the areas—nearly 12 percent of Illinois—that have a 1 percent chance of flood inundation in any given year, according to Sally McConkey, head of the CHAMP program.

In addition to keeping abreast of changing FEMA regulations and standards, CHAMP works with community managers to identify local flood risks and initiate projects to mitigate losses from flooding. As part of the ISWS, the program has access to databases and modeling efforts in all areas of water resources management.

“We leverage our knowledge of the state’s water resources and community structures to develop and share relevant information with community stakeholders,” McConkey said.  “We have a long history of working with communities on water issues and a high level of public trust that we provide unbiased, science-based information.”

Floods are the most common natural disaster in Illinois, accounting for well over 90 percent of declared disasters. Flooding in certain areas is also predictable, yet too many Illinois citizens suffer from personal and economic losses due to flooding of homes and businesses.


Media contacts:

Sally McConkey, 217-333-5482;

Tricia Barker, Associate Director for Strategic Communications, 217-300-2327,

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