This year’s conference returned to in-person events as MnAFPM collaborated with our neighbor state organization, the Wisconsin Association for Floodplain, Stormwater, & Coastal Management (WAFSCM) with the theme “Flooding Knows No Borders”. MnAFPM’s 19th annual conference was held on November 3rd and 4th at the La Crosse Center in downtown La Crosse, WI. The event was well attended by registrants from both states as well as other states across the US. While the last two years were difficult with COVID, we took advantage of what now seems like a lull in the pandemic and encouraged folks to mask-up. It was so nice to see folks in person.
As in years past the conference began on Wednesday with a few workshops and a field tour around the area to visit a variety of flood related projects. The tour of projects varied from smaller pervious pavement for neighborhood flood control within the City of La Crosse to large dams or for regional flood protection in Vernon County; from large gray-infrastructure channelizing Pammel Creek to natural restoration of river islands on the Mississippi; the tour was a great example of the history and future of floodplain management across the La Crosse Region. The opening plenary was held that evening with State Floodplain Managers, Ceil Strauss and Brian Cunningham representing their representative states with an update on ongoing efforts and upcoming initiatives in both states. The night finished with a happy hour and sponsor/exhibitor reception.
Thursday kicked off the main day of the conference with James Sink, the Regional Flood Insurance Liaison for FEMA Region 5 providing information on ongoing updates to the NFIP. 3 breakout rooms of presentations ran throughout the day for those wishing to earn CECs and PDHs. We were lucky enough to have Chad Berginins, the Executive Director for ASFPM attend and address the conference over lunch. The day ended as did the conference for most folks with awards and a sponsor/exhibitor and general raffle. The last in-person CFM exam was held at the La Crosse Center on Friday, November 5th for those that decided to take the test.
MnAFPM was happy to be able to sponsor 4 college students to attend the conference and to learn about our field. The last and first time our two states co-hosted a conference was in 2009 in Superior, WI. We hope not to wait so long until the next time we host it together. Next time we feel it’s overdue to have it in MN. ;) We wish to thank the speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors who made this year's conference possible.