Scott L. Shapiro

Scott L. Shapiro

Scott Shapiro is known for his expertise in flood protection improvement projects throughout California’s Central Valley.
He is helping clients with more than a billion dollars in projects in California’s Central Valley and issues involving the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) throughout the Western United States.

With a special focus on massive flood protection improvement projects, Scott advises clients through regulatory, contractual, financing, and legislative challenges. Acting as general or special counsel, he regularly interacts with senior management at USACE (Headquarters, South Pacific Division, and Sacramento District), the California Department of Water Resources, and the Central Valley Flood Protection Board. He was named to the National Section 408 Task Force and has been invited to give testimony to the National Academies. Scott was instrumental in helping the first regional flood improvement agency that took a basin threatened by flood risk from less than 30-year level of protection to a level of protection approaching 200-year.

Having worked with FEMA on issues of floodplain mapping and levee accreditation for many years, Scott has developed collaborative environments in which he fosters win-win solutions for his clients. He is also currently serving as the lead counsel on a flood insurance rate map (FIRM) appeal and has drafted Federal legislation to modify the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) several times.

Scott is known throughout the region for his extensive litigation experience focusing on cases arising from levee failures. He has litigated levee failures resulting from underseepage, failed encroachments, and rodent burrows as well as briefing levee overtopping cases at the appellate level. Scott is one of the few attorneys with experience litigating flood cases on behalf of plaintiffs as well as defendant government entities.

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Water Resources Development Act is Signed Into Law By President

The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2018, included as title I of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (S. 3021), was signed into law today.  The new law provides the needed authorization for investment in harbor, waterway, flood protection, and other water infrastructure improvements throughout the country. As noted in the House Transportation … Continue Reading

President Issues a Presidential Memoranda on Western Water (But Flood Is Mentioned)

Amidst much fanfare, on Friday President Trump released a Presidential Memoranda (much like an Executive Order, yet different?) directing Federal agencies to work together to reduce regulatory burdens on Western water deliveries.  It appears that the main thrust of the Memoranda is for NOAA Fisheries (which has Endangered Species Act oversight over certain fish species) … Continue Reading

The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) Finally to be Considered by the Senate

Great news for those of us tracking the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which authorizes specific projects, creates and modifies programs, and updates authorities for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:  The Senate has scheduled a a cloture vote on Tuesday.  For those with less background on the inner-workings of the Senate, a cloture vote … Continue Reading

USACE Appropriations Bill Signed by President, Becomes Law

Today the President signed an FY2019 “Minibus” into law (HR 5895) covering three of the twelve appropriations areas – energy and water, MilCon/VA, and legislative branch.  The Energy and Water portion funds the activities of USACE’s Civil Works function.  The agreement would provide a total of $7 billion to USACE, $171.5 million more than in … Continue Reading

Federal Funding Panel Shared Interesting Perspectives at Annual FMA Conference

At last week’s Floodplain Management Association meeting in Reno, Nevada, the two of us planned and participated in a panel discussion on federal funding for flood control projects under the Trump administration.  Attendees enjoyed a discussion on federal funding options for local entities that are ready to carry out a flood control project (or any water infrastructure … Continue Reading

WRDA, Appropriations, and USACE Is Staying Where It Is (for now, at least): A Busy Few Days on the Hill

All joking aside about a gridlocked Congress, real progress has been made this week on flood risk reduction authorizations and appropriations.  As explained below, it is looking like the 2018 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) may pass shortly, and the relevant budget subcommittees are ready to move an agreed-upon appropriations packet forward to their respective … Continue Reading

USACE 408 Guidance Is Officially Final (EC 1165-2-220)

We previously reported on and provided what appeared to be final drafts of the new 408 guidance.  On Friday we received the formal version, and are providing access to it here:  EC_1165-2-220. Keep coming back for more helpful information on legal updates & commentary on flood risk and floodplain management.… Continue Reading

USACE Issues Guidance for Use of Supplemental Appropriation

  We are happy to share the guidance on how USACE should be moving forward with projects funded under the Supplemental Appropriation.  The guidance can be found here. The appropriation provided an incredible $15 billion for construction: Public Law 115-123 provides $15,055,000,000 in Construction funding (Supplemental Construction funds) to address emergency situations at Corps of Engineers … Continue Reading

USACE 408 Guidance May Be Final (EC 1165-2-220)

We have reported many times in the past on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 408 policy: Here, here, here, here, here, and here. Well, we recently obtained a copy of what appears to be the final guidance, albeit with no date on it.  Also, we can’t find it on any government websites yet.  So, we think this is … Continue Reading

Will the Army Corps of Engineers lose the Civil Works mission? Looks like the Department of Defense is making some plans.

In late June, President Trump unveiled his administration’s plan to reorganize the federal government.  The proposed shakeup is entitled “Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century: Reform Plan and Reorganization Recommendations.”  On page 15 of the proposal you will find:  “Move the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Civil Works out of the Department of Defense (DOD) to … Continue Reading

No Long-Term Reauthorization Yet; NFIP Extended Through November 30, 2018

In a last minute move to avert a mini-financial disaster, today the Senate passed, and the president signed, a bill to extend the NFIP until November 30, 2018.  The House had previously passed a companion bill.  Demonstrating the broad support to keep the program running, the Senate passed the bill 86-12 and the president signed … Continue Reading

Leadership Changes at FEMA’s Flood Insurance Group

FEMA has announced that Roy Wright, the director of FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, is stepping down to take the helm of a nonprofit backed by the insurance industry.  We will be sorry to see Roy leave.  He was a great advocate for purchasing flood insurance, for sensible policies by FEMA, and for modifying FEMA’s administration … Continue Reading

Should the Civil Works Mission Leave the US Army Corps of Engineers?

As happens on a regular political cycle, there are stories being published again with calls for USACE’s Civil Works mission to leave USACE and move to the U.S. Department of Transportation, or perhaps the Department of Interior.  On Thursday, Major General Donald Jackson Jr. sent an Email for distribution within USACE on the proposal to move … Continue Reading

National Waterways Conference Requests More Time on Draft 408 Policy

The National Waterways Conference has submitted a letter in response to the notice published in the Federal Register on February 5, 2018, seeking comment on the draft Engineering Circular (EC) on 408 permissions. According to the notice, comments must be submitted by March 7, 2018. 83 Fed. Reg. 5075.  The National Waterways Conference requests that … Continue Reading

Technical Problems with First USACE 408 Webinar; Tune in Tomorrow for Second

Unfortunately, USACE has audio technical problems with its first webinar on the draft 408 policy.  For those that are interested in downloading the Powerpoint, you can find it here. Also, here is the draft guidance.  Remember, comments should be due on March 7 (30 days after Feb 5 if our math is correct). Finally, here … Continue Reading

Draft 408 Guidance imminent; USACE Webinars Scheduled

Happy New Year!!!!!!  Yes, it is actually February, but it is a new year for this blog as we turn our attention to a world full of flood risk reduction actions in the second year of the Trump Administration. We are hearing that on February 6 the Corps will be releasing draft guidance for 33 … Continue Reading

Why Advocacy Matters

Today’s guest-post is from Laura Morgan-Kessler of Van Scoyoc Associates. It is almost impossible to turn on the news or open your twitter feed today without seeing words like gridlock, partisan, or contentious used to describe the current climate in Washington, D.C. The constant negativity surrounding the events and activities in our nation’s capital has led … Continue Reading

The Money Calendar – How The Federal Budget Calendar Is Circular, Not Linear

On a recent visit to Washington, D.C. to work on client issues, I attended any number of meetings where we discussed Federal appropriations.  But before we get to an observation or two, here is a recap on the process for how Congress can choose to invest money into a flood risk management project with the … Continue Reading

Will the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) be reauthorized, extended, or what?

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will expire at the end of the month. For anyone that has read the newspaper lately, this is a lousy time for the program to expire with two hurricanes bearing down on the Eastern seaboard, and Texas’ largest city recovering from a 100-year storm. But politically, it is a … Continue Reading

How Should the Flood Management Community Deal with the Uncertainty of Climate Change?

Despite reticence in Washington, D.C. about the term “climate change” (see yesterday’s blog post on this topic), there is plenty of discussion in the media and in scientific circles about whether intense, off-the-charts storms like Hurricane Harvey are the result of, or are associated with, climate change. Unfortunately, we are unlikely to see a widely agreed-upon … Continue Reading
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