FEMA Mitigation Best Practices: Lower Onion Creek Flood Mitigation Buyout Project Gets Kudos from Homeowners [open pdf - 196KB]
"In 2013, floods hit Austin in the early hours of Halloween morning killing five people and damaging more than 500 homes. Some parts of the city received nearly 10 inches of rain in 24 hours. Austin's rivers, creeks, and streams rose to historic levels. Onion Creek and several adjacent neighbor hoods were overwhelmed with flood waters from the storm. But, thanks to a prior acquisition project, partly funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), 323 properties had already been removed from the flood's path. This still left a total of 532 homes at risk. […] After Hurricane Rita in 2006, 114 properties were acquired by the city using a $7.8 million FEMA grant. An additional 209 were acquired with funding from other sources. Immediately following the Halloween Flood of 2013, the city pulled together funding to offer recovery buyouts to many of the remaining 533 properties, the majority of which were deemed substantially damaged. […] FEMA provided $1.5 million for the acquisition of 10 of the 533 properties. Under FEMA mitigation guidelines, the acquired homes must be razed, and the cleared property left as permanent open space. In September 2014, the Austin City Council authorized $60 million in funding for the Watershed Protection Department to buy out additional properties in the 100-year floodplain. On March 5, 2015, the council authorized the department to begin voluntary buyouts for 232 houses."
United States Federal Emergency Management Agency: http://www.fema.gov/