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Barnstable County’s Floodplain Coordinator Shannon Hulst Receives National Award from FEMA

By on December 16, 2020 in Press Releases, Recent News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 16, 2020

Contact: Sonja Sheasley, Communications Manager | 508-375-6896 | Sonja.sheasley@barnstablecounty.org

Barnstable County Floodplain Coordinator Receives National Award from FEMA

BARNSTABLE, MA (12/16/20) — Shannon Hulst, Barnstable County & Woods Hole Sea Grant Floodplain Coordinator and Deputy Director of the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, received the 2019 CRS Award for Excellence from the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FIMA)—a division of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The award is presented to individuals who provide outstanding leadership in the Community Rating System (CRS) and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

In a letter from FIMA, Floodplain Management Division Director Rachel Sears summed up the importance of Hulst’s commitment and leadership.

“The CRS Award for Excellence recognizes those who have actively advanced the vision of the NFIP and the CRS and have undertaken efforts to improve the flood safety and resilience in their community—in your case, 15 communities. Your hands-on efforts have made the CRS an accessible and collaborative program. You have gone above and beyond to understand community needs and involve citizens; elected officials; numerous regional, state, and federal agencies; and other stakeholders.”

About the Award

The Community Rating System (CRS) Award for Excellence is presented to individuals actively involved in a CRS community and knowledgeable about local flooding risk. The national award is given to a single recipient annually who has promoted the use of flood insurance as a critical preparation tool, engaged community leaders to continually improve the community’s safety and resilience, and promote programs to alert the public to the risk of flooding. Their work has made communities more aware of and resistant to the dangers of flooding and natural disasters across the nation.

About the CRS & Floodplain Coordinator Position

The CRS & Floodplain Coordinator position was created in 2015 by the County, in part with seed funding from Woods Hole Sea Grant, where Hulst now holds a joint staff position with Cape Cod Cooperative Extension. The position assists Cape Cod communities with joining the Community Rating System (CRS) under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It provides residents and businesses discounts on flood insurance in exchange for actions taken within the community, reducing flood risk. The CRS & Floodplain Coordinator Position provides technical assistance for regulations and issues related to the NFIP, prepares applications for the CRS, and works with towns to maintain participation in the CRS and NFIP programs.

In the award letter, Sears further added, “…Your knowledge, commitment, and passion for the CRS program have made all of Barnstable County safer, better prepared, and more resilient. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, FEMA Region I, the NFIP, and the CRS all have benefited from your work.”

Benefits for Barnstable County  

The Floodplain Coordinator position has saved Barnstable County home and business owners $1.8M since 2015 and has helped make each of the fifteen towns on Cape Cod more prepared to prevent and respond to flooding.

Director of Cape Cod Cooperative Extension Mike Maguire said, “Barnstable County’s commitment to innovative and forward-thinking projects like the CRS position has put Cape Cod residents in the enviable position of being ahead of the curve when it comes to floodplain management and mitigation. Shannon’s work has been nothing short of exceptional; her commitment to her job, her passion for floodplain management, and her love for the region and our community shine through every day. This award is well-deserved; we are fortunate to have her helping our residents and community with this complicated and increasingly critical issue on Cape Cod.”

Woods Hole Sea Grant Director Matt Charette said, “Most importantly, Shannon’s tireless work in this area has helped our region become more resilient to flooding from rising seas and more intense coastal storms brought on by climate change.”

Flooding can happen anywhere. Residents are encouraged to access flooding information and preparation resources by https://www.capecodextension.org/coastalprocesses/ and at https://seagrant.whoi.edu/regional-topics/storms-erosion-flooding/

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