Twenty years ago, communities along the Mississippi River, including Valmeyer, Fults and other portions of Monroe County, were dealing with the historic, months-long Flood of 1993.
The Mississippi River crested at 49.58 feet in St. Louis on Aug. 1, 1993, nearly 20 feet above flood stage.
Despite heroic efforts by local officials and legions of volunteers, dozens of levees were breached, damaging or destroying thousands of homes, businesses and public properties.
Today, rising waterways still present a flood risk for many communities along rivers. But flood mitigation efforts in the past 20 years by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency have helped remove 3,928 structures from flood-prone areas.
The flood mitigation efforts are made possible by Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding the state receives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The program enables state and local governments to work together on cost-effective, long-term mitigation measures that reduce loss of life and property due to natural disasters.
The amount of funding made available is a percentage of total federal assistance provided to people and local governments following federally declared disasters.
Since 1993, Illinois has received more than $180.4 million in HMGP funding. In addition to flood mitigation projects, IEMA uses the funds to support mitigation for other hazards, such as earthquakes and wind storms.
Thirty-nine Illinois counties were declared federal disaster areas for the 1993 flood. IEMA worked with 30 flood-impacted counties and local jurisdictions on the acquisition of 1,893 homes, businesses and lots at a cost of more than $31 million.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity also funded flood mitigation projects in six communities.
In addition to properties acquired through HMGP following the 1993 flood, FEMA purchased several hundred properties in Illinois under a separate program.
Since 1993, property acquisitions through HMGP and IEMA channels total 136 in Monroe County, 244 in Valmeyer and 25 in Fults.
For more information about HMGP funding, visit online at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.