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Webinars & Presentations

Recent Webinars

Turning Soils into Sponges: Opportunities for Agriculture to Reduce Flood and Drought Risks  +/-

Increased rainfall variability is well documented in the historic record and is predicted to intensify in the future. As a result, managing periods of both excess water and limited water will continue to be a critical agricultural challenge. Increasing soil water storage capacity is a promising strategy to combat effects of both floods and droughts. This presentation will include results from several projects whose overarching goals were to understand how conservation and diversified management practices can improve water stored in the soil (making the soil more "sponge-like") and as a result improve outcomes in flood and drought events.

A synthesis of more than 130 global field experiments evaluated the impact of various conservation practices, ranging from no-till to the inclusion of perennial crops to improved livestock grazing management, on soil properties related to water. This analysis found that such agricultural management changes significantly improved water infiltration rates, the rate at which water enters the soil, as well as other soil properties related to water storage.

A novel modeling analysis for the state of Iowa found that shifting more erodible or less profitable croplands to practices that promote "continuous living cover" (cover crops and perennial crops) could reduce runoff in heavy rain events, increase plant water use, and decrease flood frequency.

Finally, information about a multi-decade effort in the Shell Creek watershed of Northeast Nebraska will be shared, where local producers have utilized more conservation practices and report a decrease in flooding.


  • Andrea Basche, Asst. Professor in Cropping Systems, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture

Links to Materials and More Information:

Date: September 24, 2019 at 11:30 am - 12:30 pm EDT

Cedar Rapids, Iowa Flood Risk Management: A Case Study in Disaster Recovery  +/-

Record flooding of the Cedar River in June 2008 caused over $5 billion in losses in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, making it Iowa's costliest natural disaster ever. Following the flood, actions taken by the federal government, city of Cedar Rapids, the business community, and citizens represent a valuable case study of the paradigms and specific actions that guided a post-flood recovery process in a large U.S. city. Post-flood recovery in Cedar Rapids has been viewed as a model by many parties, and an abundance of evidence shows that Cedar Rapids used the disaster as a means to improve the city's flood preparedness and resilience to future flood events. This webinar will discuss the general dynamics of the 2008 flood; major actions taken during the post-flood recovery process; and, lessons learned that might be of interest to the US flood expert community and for other US cities at risk of flooding hazards.


  • Jeffrey Jacobs, PhD, Geographer, USACE Institute for Water Resources

Links to Materials:

Date: September 11, 2019

NASA Disasters Mapping Portal - Overview and Demo+/-

The NASA Earth Science Division Disasters Program is uniquely positioned to provide near real-time data and event-specific products to support the preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation of disasters both domestically and around the world. While NASA is not a response agency, it does have specialized Earth Observing satellites and airborne assets that can provide unique capabilities to assess impacts and inform actionable decisions through all phases of the emergency management cycle. The webinar will provide a brief overview of the NASA Disasters Program with a focus on the Disasters Mapping Portal.

The NASA Disasters Mapping Portal is used as a platform to host and provide access to the near real-time and event-specific products through free and open Portal layers, web applications, and REST endpoints. The Disasters Mapping Portal provides NASA data in a beneficial format for emergency managers and GIS specialists within local, state, federal and international disaster response agencies. The presentation will include a demonstration of the Portal, suggested uses for data products, and a showcase of products developed to support natural disasters, with a focus on the recent flooding in the Midwest.


  • Program Overview: Brady Helms and Amy Robinson, Disasters Program Emergency Management Coordinators
  • Portal Overview/Demo: Jeremy Kirkendall, Disasters Program GIS Lead, and Garrett Layne, Disasters Program GIS Specialist

Links to Materials:

  • The recorded session, transcript and presentation slides are available.
  • Report
  • Slides

Date: : August 13, 2019

Introduction to the Indiana Fluvial Erosion Hazard Mitigation Program  +/-

Following a series of devastating floods in 2008, the State of Indiana, working with the Indiana Silver Jackets, has taken steps to identify and reduce the risk from flood-related erosion hazards. In this presentation we will tell you about the beginnings of the program, the resources the team has developed, and where the team is currently putting its efforts. Please join us as we take you through the continuing development of a Fluvial Erosion Hazards Program.


  • Robert C. Barr, Research Scientist, Center for Earth and Environmental Science Department of Earth Sciences IUPUI
  • Siavash Beik, PE, CFM, D.WRE, Vice President/Principal Engineer, Christopher B. Burke Engineering, LLC

The recorded session, transcript and presentation slides are available.

Date: July 10, 2019

Adapting Stormwater Management for Coastal Floods  +/-

The ability to effectively manage stormwater is a critical function for any community; however, more frequent coastal flooding events are posing a unique challenge to coastal communities. To tackle this complex issue, communities need to know if and when they should expect to see coastal flooding, how long it will last, and how this may impact their ability to manage stormwater. This presentation will introduce "Adapting Stormwater Management for Coastal Floods", a web-based, decision-support resource available through NOAA's Digital Coast platform that provides timely and relevant information to address these concerns.

Presenter: Josh Murphy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management

The recorded session and transcript are available.

Date: June 12, 2019

Social Vulnerability Metrics, Measures and Datasets - Applications for Emergency Management Decisions Models  +/-

The concept of social vulnerability is theoretically framed by a multi-disciplinary litany of case studies and research on specific hazard events, their impacts, and outcomes. Social vulnerability to hazards refers specifically to a lack of ability for individuals and communities to adequately prepare for, respond to, and rebound from environmental hazards.  Although the "science" of vulnerability is relatively new, the utility of social vulnerability measures for targeting scarce disaster preparedness, response, and recovery resources to those most impacted and distressed is clear.  This presentation showcases a variety of cases where social vulnerability measures have been utilized to aid decision makers before, during, and after disasters.

Dr. Christopher Emrich - Endowed Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Public Administration, School of Public Administration, University of Central Florida (UCF Coastal)

The recorded session and transcript are available.

Date: May 15, 2019

Building Cultures of Preparedness  +/-

The webinar highlights the findings and recommendations contained in a report published by the FEMA Higher Education Program titled "Building Cultures of Preparedness" (pdf, 4.5 MB). The report suggests that a culture-based approach to the community and household level preparedness goals laid out in FEMA's 2018-2022 Strategic Plan can help us achieve the nation's new resilience goals. The webinar discusses the demands of our distinctive and heterogeneous local environments and the ways in which the resilience we desire will have to be built one community at a time. Four guiding principles to implement successful strategies to build cultures of preparedness are described as well as example applications.


  • Wendy Walsh - FEMA Emergency Management Higher Education Program
  • Katherine E. Browne - Colorado State University / Culture & Disaster Action Network (CADAN)
  • Laura Olson - Georgetown University / Culture & Disaster Action Network (CADAN)
  • Jenny Hegland - Jenny Hegland Consulting
  • Julie Maldonado - Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network (LiKEN) / Culture & Disaster Action Network (CADAN)
  • Elizabeth Marino - Oregon State University / Culture & Disaster Action Network (CADAN)
  • Keely Maxwell - Environmental Protection Agency / Culture & Disaster Action Network (CADAN)
  • Eric Stern - University of Albany-SUNY, College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security, and Cyber-Security
  • Ana-Marie Jones - Interpro

The recorded session and transcript are available.

Date: April 16, 2019

"Get on the Bus, Gus!" How to Rev up a Team and Drive it Home  +/-

This webinar focuses on team development, cruising through a few scenic stops along the road and flashing headlights on some approaches to form and lead teams. The presenters map out how you can share the ride with the passengers on your Silver Jackets or other interagency teams and drive home the need for continued team maintenance and fine-tuning.


  • Andrea Carson, USACE Pittsburgh District, Community Planner / Public Involvement Specialist
  • Hunter Merritt, USACE Sacramento District, Water Resources Planner / Public Involvement Specialist

The recorded session and transcript are available.

Date: March 19, 2019

Engineering with Nature for Flood Risk Management  +/-

Presenter: Todd Bridges, PhD, Senior Research Scientist for Environmental Science, USACE Engineer Research and Development Center

The USACE Engineering with Nature® initiative includes a network of research projects, field demonstrations, and communication activities to promote sustainable, resilient infrastructure systems. There is growing interest in leveraging natural systems and processes to support engineering functions. The webinar provided an update on the USACE Engineering With Nature® initiative, highlighting lessons learned, needs and opportunities for the future, and recent publication of the book “Engineering With Nature: an Atlas” that includes descriptions of 56 projects around the world.

The presentation slides, audio recording and transcript are available.

Date: March 5, 2019

FY20 Call for Interagency Nonstructural Flood Risk Management Proposals - USACE Floodplain Management Services Program  +/-

As in previous years, a portion of FY20 Flood Plain Management Services (FPMS) funding is apportioned to interagency nonstructural flood risk management (FRM) work.  Silver Jackets teams have leveraged this funding opportunity to initiate more than 400 interagency efforts since 2011. A table summarizing some of them is located at

Not a grant program, the interagency work promotes participation by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) staff in small efforts undertaken in conjunction with other partners in order to achieve FRM benefits that could not be achieved by any one party alone.  A Call for Proposals invites proposals from USACE Districts for that purpose, with a focus on approaches that utilize the agency's expertise in engineering to provide local communities and States with technical and planning assistance regarding the development and implementation of nonstructural approaches to manage and reduce flood risks.  Proposals may address any or all portions of the flood risk management life cycle (prepare, respond, recover, and mitigate) and may address floods and flood hazards in both coastal and riverine areas.

Listen in to learn more about this opportunity and the timeline for FY20 proposal submittals.


  • Lisa Bourget, USACE Institute for Water Resources
  • Manuela Johnson, Indiana Department of Homeland Security
  • Stacey Underwood, USACE Baltimore District

The presentation, recorded session and transcript are available.

Date: January 29, 2019



Integrating Nature-based Solutions into Natural Hazard Mitigation Plans - Ashland, Oregon Pilot Project +/-

FEMA and EPA have partnered on several pilot project efforts promoting integration of green infrastructure and low impact development (GI/LID) strategies into Natural Hazard Mitigation Plans (NHMPs) to reduce natural hazards risk.  On December 12, Josh Bruce (University of Oregon) and Krista Mendelman (Environmental Protection Agency) gave a Silver Jackets webinar presentation about the City of Ashland, Oregon NHMP Pilot Project.   The Oregon Partnership for Disaster Resilience at the University of Oregon used its energy, expertise and innovation to work with the community and other partners to update the existing NHMP.  Steps included review of ordinances and the existing NHMP actions, and completing GIS assessments and ecosystem service evaluations to identify opportunities to integrate GI/LID mitigation actions.  The presentation discussed these steps, reviewed GI/LID recommendations, and shared lessons learned from the process.

The presenters included:

  • Krista Mendelman, Environmental Protection Agency
  • Josh Bruce, Oregon Partnership for Disaster Resilience, University of Oregon

The presentation, recorded session, and transcript are available.

Date: December 12, 2018

Huntington, West Virginia Levee Tabletop Exercise  +/-

On November 27, a Silver Jackets webinar was held to discuss the recent levee tabletop exercise in Huntington, WV. A mock flood exercise among agencies and partners was conducted. The tabletop exercise brought together agencies directly associated with operating and maintaining the levee systems, as well as agencies involved in coming together to communicate and disseminate flood warning and potential evacuation instructions during an event.  The target audience was the levee owners/operators, local EMA, County EMA, WV Department of Homeland Security, USACE Levee Safety Group, West Virginia Silver Jackets, and others deemed necessary.  Stakeholders left the exercise with a better knowledge of emergency actions to take and the proper chain to contact before, during, and after a flood event.  The webinar outlined the important benefits and the how-to of an After Action Report.

The presenters included:

  • Ashley Stephens, USACE Huntington District - Silver Jackets Coordinator and Planner
  • Kevin Butler, USACE Huntington District - Levee Safety Program Manager
  • Charles Goad, USACE Huntington District
  • Greg Fuller, WV Department of Homeland Security - Region 6 Area Liaison
  • Jerry Beckett, Cabell County Emergency Management - Emergency Planner

The presentation, recorded session, and transcript are available.

Date: November 27, 2018

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Overview and Disaster Engagement  +/-

The October 22 Silver Jackets webinar addressed the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD's role in disaster response and recovery. HUD's overall mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities, and quality affordable homes for all. HUD administers multiple programs and grants that Silver Jackets teams can use to help fund flood mitigation projects, including HUD Regional Planning and Community Challenge; Strong Cities, Strong Communities; Choice Neighborhood Planning and Implementation grants; and Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). These grants are often leveraged by states and cities as federal matching dollars for FEMA, USACE, and USGS projects.

For many years, HUD has been an important federal partner during flood recovery in providing funding that comes available through Congress to support unmet needs. Today Mr. Dana Bres, a senior advisor within HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research at HQ, and his team focus on HUD's role in disaster response as well as on long-term community recovery, typically supported through the Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program.

The CDBG-DR program provides not only funding but it also provides support for state and local communities through local planning. This presentation identifies information sources local Silver Jackets teams can use to understand and engage in the local planning processes for HUD assisted recovery efforts.

The presentation, recorded session and audio transcript are available.

Date: October 22, 2018

NOAA Office of Coastal Management's Digital Coast - More than Just Data  +/-

On September 13, 2018, Kristin Ransom presented a Silver Jackets webinar entitled:  Digital Coast—More than Data.

Future flood reduction challenges are not static especially with the uncertainty around climate change and rising sea levels for coastal areas in particular.

The vast majority of property at risk in floodplains is along the coast: Houston, New Orleans, the Gulf, Miami, and up the eastern seaboard. These coastlines are densely developed. If the sea level rises 3-6 feet in the next 100 years, that is a game-changer for our ability to map future flood risk.

The Digital Coast website provides some of the necessary tools to help identify these risks. Data sets range from economic data to satellite imagery. The site contains visualization tools, predictive tools, and tools that make data easier to find and use.

Kristin Ransom is a Coastal Management Specialist with The Baldwin Group at the NOAA Office for Coastal Management and sits in their Gulf Coast Office. She works as a site liaison with the Coastal Zone Management Programs in the Gulf of Mexico and supports the National Estuarine Research Reserve System’s Coastal Training Programs. In her role at the Office for Coastal Management, Kristin works on a wide range of issues including coastal resilience, coastal planning, and public beach access.

The presentation, the recorded session and a transcript are available.

Date: September 13, 2018

Regional Summary of Local Hazard Mitigation Plans  +/-

The August 23rd Silver Jackets webinar focused on the California team’s work to create a database of community mitigation plans to assist agencies in addressing statewide mitigation needs in an expeditious manner.

There are hundreds and hundreds of local hazard mitigation plans (LHMPs) that have been developed for each state since the Federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000. For the states and the state teams, it has been a challenge to keep track of what has been done, what is proposed, and what should be addressed. The California team has taken up the challenge of creating a management tool by developing a regional summary of local hazard mitigation plans to help steer an organized mitigation response.

By consolidating information from the LHMPs into one database, planners and other interested personnel can easily sort through projects based on various criteria, including hazard types, agency regions, and project types. The regional summaries tool will assist agencies in quickly identifying potential projects that meet their criteria and support ongoing coordination across agencies to help communities in reducing risks.

The presenters included:

  • Rachael Orellana, Sacramento District Flood Risk Program Manager and Silver Jackets USACE Lead for California,
  • Melissa Weymiller, Sacramento District Flood Risk Project Manager, and
  • Patricia Fontanet, Sacramento District Flood Risk Community Planner.


A copy of the presentation (pdf, 2.01 MB) as well as the recording (mp3, 8.49 MB) are available.

Date: August 23, 2018

Real Time Inundation Mapping  +/-

In May 2010, the Middle Tennessee region endured a record flood event that resulted in billions of dollars in damages and multiple fatalities. In the years following the flood, federal agencies worked closely with Nashville to develop hydrologic and hydraulic (H&H) modeling and flood risk management products such as updated Flood Insurance Study modeling and mapping, guides, GIS web viewers that correlate flood depths/timing to forecasted precipitation, and the installation of headwater stream gages.

Over the past year, the culmination of all this effort has resulted in a detailed real-time flood forecasting system using the Hydrologic Engineering Center's Real-Time Simulation (HEC-RTS) software. HEC-RTS leverages the suite of HEC software packages including the Hydrologic Modeling System and River Analysis System  in a common environment to simulate, in real-time, the rainfall-runoff response from the watershed and flow hydraulics through the reach network of the watershed.

This presentation describes: the history behind why and how the HEC-RTS modeling was developed; unique aspects of the model; and how the model brings together the needs and capabilities of federal agencies and local communities.

Mr. Brantley Thames was the presenter.  He has worked with the US Army Corps of Engineers in Nashville, TN for 17 years and serves as the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division Regional Technical Specialist in Flood Risk Management.

Over his career, Brantley has been mostly focused on using H&H modeling and mapping to update flood insurance products and to develop flood risk management alternatives for local communities. Recently, Brantley has become more involved with real-time flood forecasting model development to support local communities and the National Weather Service.

The presentation (pdf, 6.98 MB) and recorded session (mp3, 10.0 MB) are available.

Date: July 17, 2018

FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program - Post Fire  +/-

The June 28, 2018 Silver Jackets informational webinar presentation was given by Sarah McGarvey, Senior Mitigation Specialist with FEMA about the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) - Post Fire.

On June 5, 2018, FEMA announced availability of funds under the HMGP Post Fire for states, territories, and federally-recognized tribes that had a Fire Management Assistance declaration in FY 2017 and 2018.  Eligible states with declarations are located in FEMA Regions IV, VI, VII, VIII, IX and X in the following 20 states - AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, KS, KY, MT, NC, NM, NV, OK, OR, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WA, and WY.  Funding can be used to implement hazard mitigation measures in communities after wildfire disasters including hazards such as flood or erosion.

The Silver Jackets webinar presentation was offered to active Silver Jacket teams for those states with Fire Management Assistance declarations.  Silver Jackets teams may be a useful resource for the State when identifying effective mitigation projects through their collective expertise and knowledge about wildfire impacts and mitigation needs.

More information about the program can be found here:

The presentation (pdf, 3.93 MB) and recorded session (mp3, 6.46 MB) are available.

Date: June 28, 2018

Creating Statewide Geodatabases of Past and Potential Flood Risk Locations  +/-

On June 20, members of the Alaska (AK) and New Hampshire (NH) Silver Jackets Teams presented a one-hour Silver Jackets webinar entitled: State Flood Hazards Geodatabase. Crane Johnson from the National Weather Service gave a presentation on the Alaska Flood Events Database. Shane Csiki and Tom Taggart from the NH Department of Environmental Services and Whitney Welch from the NH Department of Safety presented on the New Hampshire Flood Hazards Geodatabase.

The Alaska Silver Jackets Team developed a statewide historical flood hazard database that was showcased in the Winter 2018 Buzz newsletter. The NOAA Alaska Pacific River Forecast Center (APRFC) at the National Weather Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) worked with a contractor to catalog and spatially connect historical flood events to the State of Alaska Division of Regional and Community Affairs list of Native Villages and Communities. The effort initially included researching Hazard Mitigation Plans, State and Federal Disaster Declarations, the USACE Cold Regions Ice Jam Database, and the APRFC River Notes.

Independently, the NH Hampshire Geological Survey at the NH Department of Environmental Services, in collaboration with the NH Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, have recently engaged in the completion of a similar effort to develop a statewide flood hazards geodatabase, using local town information.

In February 2018, the AK team and NH officials discussed their respective efforts together in a teleconference. Based on differing needs, each state took a unique approach to inventory and document historic flood events.

The recorded session (mp3, 8.96 MB) along with the Alaska (pdf, 2.18 MB) and New Hampshire (pdf, 1.84 MB) presentations are available.

Date: June 20, 2018

Changes in the Magnitude and Frequency of Riverine Flooding in the United States  +/-

The May 16, 2018 Silver Jackets Webinar presentation was given by Robert Hirsch, Research Hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey.

Effective flood mitigation requires sound information about the risks, for example how high are stream flows and how often one can expect floods to occur on any given river. Flood risk information depends on long-term streamflow data, detailed geographic information about watersheds and floodplains, and statistical analyses of these data. Historically, the assumption has generally been that the relationship of frequency and magnitude never changes over time.

Today the hydrologic science community and citizens in general recognize that there are reasons that changes could be taking place, driven by factors such as changes in land use, engineering works, and in climate. An important part of planning for the future is knowing what changes have happened in the past and trying to learn about the drivers of those changes. Robert Hirsch shared research completed by the USGS to understand these changes.

The presentation (pdf, 2.61 MB) and recorded session (mp3, 9.32 MB) are available.

Date: May 16, 2018

USACE Guidance for Emergency Action Plans, Incident Management and Reporting, and Inundation Maps for Dams and Levee Systems  +/-

The April 25, 2018 Silver Jackets webinar was about 'Guidance for Emergency Action Plans, Incident Management and Reporting, and Inundation Maps for Dams and Levee Systems.'

Bruce Rogers, the Dam and Levee Safety Program Manager for Philadelphia District gave a presentation on the changes to the Emergency Action Plan (EAP) guidance.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recently published EC 1110-2-6074, "Guidance for Emergency Action Plans, Incident Management and Reporting, and Inundation Maps for Dams and Levee Systems" available for download at

The new guidance is applicable to all dams and levees operated and maintained by USACE. EAPs play a vital role in the comprehensive risk management strategy for our dam and levee projects. The policy intent is to achieve consistency of EAPs across the USACE portfolio of dam and levee projects. This level of consistency is beneficial to the USACE capability to provide efficient inter-district support during emergency operations.

USACE seeks feedback and suggestions from the webinar audience and during the next two years to further improve the emergency preparedness guidance.

Comments can be submitted to

A copy of the presentation (pdf, 5.89 MB) is available.

Date: April 25, 2018

Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities: Flood Resilience for Riverine and Coastal Communities  +/-

On April 17th, a one-hour Silver Jackets webinar entitled Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities - Flood Resilience for Riverine and Coastal Communities was held. The presenters were Michelle Madeley from the EPA and Allison Hardin from Myrtle Beach. Michelle is a Presidential Management Fellow with the EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities and Allison is with the Planning Department in the City of Myrtle Beach and the lead for her community's Building Blocks Workshop in 2017.

EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities provides planning assistance to communities interested in becoming more prepared and resilient to flooding. Through the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities technical assistance approach, EPA has partnered with 10 communities across the country to help them address their flood resilience challenges, using a workshop model that brings together community members and stakeholders to develop a vision for their community and an action plan to support achieving that vision.

This webinar provided an overview of the Building Blocks workshop process, described how EPA and other federal and state partners work hand-in-hand with communities, and included case studies from two communities. Silver Jackets teams were exposed to possible opportunities for collaboration and a unique avenue to support communities.

Copies of Michelle's and Allison’s presentations (pdf, 7.26 MB) are available along with the recorded session (mp3, 9.53 MB).

Date: April 17, 2018

Forecasting Ice Jams and Mitigating Damages  +/-

On March 22, 2018, a Silver Jackets webinar was held on Forecasting Ice Jams and Mitigating Damages.

This year as in previous years, ice jams, especially in the northern climates, can cause serious flooding and havoc for a community. Understanding the processes that lead to ice jam flooding is one of the missions of engineers at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (otherwise known as CRREL), which is located in Hanover, New Hampshire. CRREL is a part of the Engineer Research and Development Center of the USACE.

The Ice Engineering Group at CRREL works to understand how ice jams form; predict their occurrence; develop mitigation techniques; and help federal, state, and local agencies respond to flooding.

Joe Rocks from CRREL provided an overview of the causes and impacts of river ice jams and described methods available to mitigate damages during this webinar.  He shared the latest research efforts on ice jams from the Center and stepped us through current mitigation projects intended to lessen the impacts of ice jams.  Joe is a research civil engineer and a CRREL lead for the Ice Jam Database and the lead on several interagency projects.

The session was recorded (mp3, 11.0 MB) and the presentation slides are available (pdf, 7.17 MB).

Date: March 22, 2018

StreamStats - A USGS Water Resources Web Application  +/-

The Feb 7, 2018 Silver Jackets Webinar presentation was given by Peter MCarthy, National StreamStats Coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey at the Wyoming-Montana Water Science Center.

StreamStats, Version 4 is a map-based web application that provides an assortment of analytical tools that are useful for water-resources planning and management, and engineering purposes. Developed by the US Geological Survey, or USGS, the primary purpose of StreamStats is to provide estimates of stream flow statistics for user-selected, ungaged sites on streams and for USGS stream gages.  This application can be a valuable tool in support of efforts to understand and manage flood risk.

The presentation (pdf, 3.52 MB) is available as well as the recorded session (mp3, 8.85 MB).

Date: February 7, 2018

EMAP - Emergency Management Accreditation Program +/-

On January 16, 2018, a Silver Jackets webinar was held that addressed the Emergency Management Accreditation Program, otherwise known as EMAP.  EMAP is an independent, nonprofit organization that fosters excellence and accountability in emergency management and homeland security programs by establishing credible standards applied in a peer review accreditation process. EMAP addresses Emergency Management Standards in five mission areas:  preparedness, mitigation, prevention, response, and recovery. In order to acquire the EMAP accreditation, emergency management programs must collaborate with stakeholders to document processes, plans, and procedures for each standard.

Silver Jackets teams provide local, state, and federal agencies with subject matter flood risk management expertise, which can support documentation of processes, plans, and procedures for hazard mitigation and prevention for a variety of governmental agencies interested in the EMAP accreditation.

To tell us more about this program and the important role we can play, we heard from Lindsey Shafer and Scott Gauvin. Lindsey is the EMAP Training Coordinator.  She provides training on the two Standards developed, maintained, and applied by EMAP – the Emergency Management Standard and the Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) Standard. Lindsey also serves as the EMAP Staff Liaison for colleges and universities interested in pursuing the EMAP Accreditation. Prior to working at EMAP, she served as the Training & Exercise Coordinator and Accreditation Manager for Virginia Tech.

Scott Gauvin is the EMAP Federal Projects Specialist. Scott serves as the EMAP Staff Liaison for federal agencies interested in pursuing the EMAP Accreditation including the Corps of Engineers. Prior to working at EMAP, he served as the Emergency Operations Center Manager for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

The presentation (pdf, 1.09 MB | pdf with notes, 2.29 MB) is available as well as the audio recording (mp3, 13.0 MB) of the webinar.

Date: January 16, 2018



From Risk to Resiliency Guidebook  +/-

The December 15, 2017 Silver Jackets webinar was given by Rachel Hogan Carr, a social scientist from The Nurture Nature Center, about a guidebook titled 'From Risk to Resiliency - Better Communities through Science Learning about Local Environmental Risks.'  The guidebook was designed to facilitate dialogue and help communities prioritize actions and concerns around hazards.

Rachel is the Executive Director and one of the Founders of The Nurture Nature Center.  The Nurture Nature Center is a non-profit organization that has been working to educate the public about flooding.

A presentation (pdf, 4.24 MB) is available as well as the recorded session (mp3, 12 MB).

Date: December 15, 2017

USACE National Levee Inventory and Review: An Opportunity to Learn More about the Nation's Levees  +/-

On November 30, 2017, a one hour Silver Jackets webinar was held to address a USACE initiative, the National Levee Inventory and Review. There are thousands of miles of levees across the US. Some information is available for nearly 30,000 of those levee miles; but there are unknown number of miles of levees that haven’t been documented yet. The benefits and flood risks associated with many of these levees are unknown.
The USACE has a strategy to help identify and assess the conditions, benefits, and flood risks for each of these levees with the help from Silver Jackets teams. The USACE is conducting an inventory and one-time inspection of the nation’s levees as a key component of a potential national levee safety program, a program that envisions state levee safety programs that are complementary to current federal efforts.

Jamie McVicker and Cathi Sanders, both from the USACE, were the presenters.  Jamie is the Technical Levee Manager with the Levee Safety Production Center. She is responsible for managing the National Levee Inventory and Review effort and for facilitating levee safety training. Cathi is the National Levee Database program manager and is responsible for data management and levee safety tools, including outreach efforts to develop the inventory of levee systems and information with states and other stakeholders in the communities.

The webinar was well attended with over 165 participants. The presentation (pdf, 5.44 MB) is available as well as the recorded session (mp3, 10.2 MB).

Date: November 30, 2017

Silver Jackets Partnering Opportunities Webinar Series: National Aeronautics and Space Administration  +/-

On June 13, the final in a Silver Jackets Partnering Opportunities webinar series was held. The title of the webinar was Sizing Up Floods from Space - National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Dr. David Green, Disasters Program Manager in NASA's Applied Sciences Program, was the presenter. The webinar described the NASA Disasters Program, highlighted case studies from recent events, and detailed how satellites and airborne assets are contributing toward stronger disaster management networks and tool sets for first responders and senior decision makers.

The NASA Earth Science Division provides access to data through reliable and repeatable processes for and about disaster issues, which are user-centric and can make substantive contributions toward risk-informed decisions and actions. NASA mobilizes global, regional and local efforts to get the right information at the right time and uses its science and technology capacity, application science and trusted partnerships to make data more discoverable and user-ready. The goal is to help guide planning through continuous monitoring and trend analysis before the next event occurs and make data, models, maps and other data-products accessible in a timely manner.

The recorded session (mp3, 29.9 MB), a copy of the speaker's bio slide (pdf, 159 KB) and the presentation (PDF, 8.16 MB | PPTX, 492 MB) are available.

Date: June 13, 2017

Silver Jackets Partnering Opportunities Webinar Series: The Nature Conservancy  +/-

The fifth of a six part Silver Jackets Partnering Opportunities webinar series on The Nature Conservancy was held on June 5th. 

Nate Woiwode, project manager for The Nature Conservancy's North American Risk Reduction and Resilience team, was the lead-off presenter followed by Katherine Hagemann, resilience program manager within the Office of Resilience at Miami-Dade County, Florida. The webinar showcased, the recently launched interactive siting guide that the Naturally Resilient Communities partnership developed to promote the role of nature and nature-based solutions in making communities more resilient in the face of more frequent and more powerful flood events. It also described work from some of the more than 20 case studies drawn from communities across the country that have made successful investments in nature-based solutions as well as provide access to additional tools and resources that communities might use in their own backyards to make themselves safer and more resilient.

Naturally Resilient Communities is a partnership of county governments, professional engineers, community planners, floodplain managers and conservationists who work with communities to improve their quality of life and economies. The effort is made possible with support from the Kresge Foundation and includes the National Association of Counties, the American Planning Association, the Association of State Floodplain Managers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, Sasaki Associates, and The Nature Conservancy.

The recorded session (mp3, 38.5 MB) and a copy of the presentation (pdf, 8.84 MB) are available.

Date: June 5, 2017

Silver Jackets Partnering Opportunities Webinar Series: NOAA National Weather Service  +/-

On May 31, Peter Colohan, Director of Service Innovation and Partnership for NOAA's new Office of Water Prediction within the National Weather Service, provided a briefing on the NOAA Water Initiative, the new National Water Model, and other new data and information services from NOAA and its federal partners that can support Silver Jackets teams. The new Office of Water Prediction is home to the new National Water Center that collaboratively researches, develops and delivers state-of-the-science national hydrologic analyses, forecast information, data, decision-support services and guidance to support and inform essential emergency services and water management decisions.

The recorded session (mp3, 28.3 MB) and his presentation (pdf, 6.39 MB) are available.

Date: May 31, 2017

Silver Jackets Partnering Opportunities Webinar Series: Environmental Protection Agency  +/-

The third of a six part Silver Jackets webinar series about Partnering Opportunities was held May 24th. Lisa Hair, Ken Hendrickson and Abby Hall from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discussed partnering opportunities. The presentation described EPA’s collaboration with FEMA to help communities integrate Low Impact Development/Green Infrastructure and Smart Growth into Hazard Mitigation Plans (HMP) and also shared EPA's thoughts on integrating HMPs with the non-point source program (Clean Water Act 319). The presentation also included details on a project underway with local and state governments in coordination with a Silver Jackets team.

There is significant interest in this collaborative approach by communities. It offers opportunities for Silver Jackets teams to work with EPA and other agencies to help communities reduce risk while improving water quality and meeting compliance objectives. EPA presented information on the broad EPA/FEMA Memorandum of Understanding that has led to several flood-risk technical assistance projects and can facilitate partnering opportunities in the future.

The recorded session (mp3, 46.7 MB) and the slide presentations (pdf, 7.77 MB) are available along with the speakers' bios.

Date: May 24, 2017

Silver Jackets Partnering Opportunities Webinar Series: Coastal States Organization  +/-

On May 16th, the second of a six part Silver Jackets webinar series about Partnering Opportunities was held. Bradley Watson, Deputy Director of the Coastal States Organization (CSO), presented on this non-profit organization that represents the Governors of the nation's thirty-five coastal states, commonwealths, and territories. The organization supports coastal zone management programs for legislative and policy issues relating to sound management of coastal, Great Lakes, and ocean resources, and connects states to federal agencies, non-profit and private organizations. The Coastal States Organization contributes to the development of coastal zone management legislation and programs. Bradley provided a brief history of the organization, identified the CSO members, addressed its mission and priorities, described ongoing projects, and discussed how its members' goals and objectives align with the efforts of Silver Jackets teams.

The recorded session (mp3, 31.4 MB) and the presentation (pdf, 3.74 MB) are available.

Date: May 16, 2017

Silver Jackets Partnering Opportunities Webinar Series: Rockefeller Center and 100 Resilient Cities  +/-

On May 8, the first of a six part Silver Jackets webinar series about partnering opportunities was held.  The webinar was about the 100 RESILIENT CITIES, how it works, and which cities are participating. The 100RC initiative helps cities worldwide build resilience to the growing physical, social and economic challenges of the 21st century. By understanding how existing challenges are connected and by planning for potential natural hazards and everyday stresses, cities can make themselves better in both good times and bad for all their citizens.

Lynn Seirup and Mariane Jang from 100 Resilient Cities presented on how 100RC works and how cities are provided with the resources necessary to develop a roadmap to resilience. It is obvious that this Resilient Cities initiative clearly overlaps with goals and objectives so stated in Silver Jacket charters nationwide and thus it is important to share information.

100RC has staff and offices in New York, Mexico City, London, and Singapore to support the work in cities across regions. Lynn Seirup and Mariane Jang play key roles on the New York staff. Lynn is the Associate Director for City Solutions, Innovation in Urban Data and Technology. Mariane is the Partnership Lead for Urban Planning, Mobility, and Governance.

The recorded session (mp3, 21.4 MB) and a copy of the presentation (pdf, 9.70 MB) are available.

Date: May 8, 2017

USACE Lessons Learned While Serving as Infrastructure Assessment Field Coordinator for South Carolina Flood Event  +/-

On April 25, 2017, a Silver Jackets webinar was held to share the lessons learned and the USACE experiences in disaster recovery for a major flooding event in South Carolina. In October 2015, a meeting of Hurricane Joaquin and a low pressure system resulted in the deposition of up to 29 inches of rain in South Carolina, resulting in multiple impoundment failures, $80 million in property damages, and over $375 million in agricultural losses.  Under the National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF), the USACE serves as the Infrastructure Assessment Field Coordinator. In this role, the USACE catalogues infrastructure damages and addresses needs that are not captured through FEMA Public Assistance funding. Since this was the first NDRF mission in South Carolina, an analysis of the results of the mission and a review of the lessons learned are invaluable for future applications. Mr. Colton Bowles from the USACE Charleston District shared his experience and addressed some of the lessons learned.

The recorded session (mp3, 5.65 MB) and presentation (pdf, 4.15 MB) are available.

Date: April 25, 2017

Critical Facilities Flood Vulnerability Assessment  +/-

A March 23, 2017, Silver Jackets webinar introduced a flood vulnerability assessment method for critical facilities, which was developed with funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Sea Grant College program. Flood plain managers deal with special requirements for critical facilities while meeting the requirements of Executive Orders 11988 and 13690, developing emergency action plans, infrastructure site planning, providing general technical assistance, and making communities resilient. Molly Woloszyn is the Extension Climate Specialist for Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and the Midwestern Regional Climate Center, which are both a part of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Woloszyn has developed a method to assist floodplain managers by providing a tool to identify specific vulnerabilities to critical facilities. It was recently piloted in the Greater Chicago Metro area. The assessment includes recommendations and suggested resources to reduce risks to critical facilities.

A recording (mp3, 7.18 MB) of the webinar along with her presentation (pdf, 2.17 MB) on a tool for Flood Vulnerability Assessment for Critical Facilities are now available.

Date: March 23, 2017

The CRS and Repetitive Loss Area Analysis (RLAA)  +/-

Interested in addressing repetitive flood losses through the support of NFIP's Community Rating System (CRS)? On February 23, 2017, David Stroud, a FEMA contractor supporting the CRS program, steps us through the process by defining a repetitive loss and describing the Repetitive Loss Area Analysis (RLAA) approach. The process of completing a RLAA is one that engages a number of stakeholders into the analysis, including local officials, government agencies, residents, and civic and social organizations. This collaborative effort is explained by Mr. Stroud such that we are in better position to provide technical assistance to communities.

His presentation (pdf, 5.88 MB) and recorded session (mp3, 22.5 MB) are available.

Date: February 23, 2017



The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS)  +/-

A Silver Jackets webinar was held Dec. 7th on FEMA's Integrated Public Alert and Warning System or IPAWS. Wade Witmer from FEMA provided a 60 minute presentation on this system.

Wade Witmer has served as the Deputy Director of FEMA's IPAWS Division within the National Preparedness Directorate since January 2009. The IPAWS Division is responsible for implementing Executive Order 13407 by providing "an effective, reliable, integrated, flexible, and comprehensive system to alert and warn the American people in situations of war, terrorist attack, natural disaster, or other hazards to public safety and well-being".

In 2011, IPAWS began providing public safety officials at all levels of government a way to warn people by radio, TV, and cable via the Emergency Alert System; cellular phones via Wireless Emergency Alerts; weather radios via the National Weather Service's All-Hazards Radio network; and Internet applications via an IPAWS All Hazards Alert Feed. Today the number of local, state, territorial, tribal, and federal agencies using IPAWS has grown to over 1,000 users.

Wade and the staff from the IPAWS Division continue to enhance the current warning capabilities and improve the system by making warnings to people in danger more effective.

The presentation (pdf, 2.11 MB) as well as the recorded session are available.

Date: December 7, 2016

Webinar on Social Effects and Social Vulnerability  +/-

After floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters strike, some communities are resilient and can bounce back quickly; however, in other communities, it can take a lot longer.  Social impacts of hazard exposure often fall disproportionately on the most vulnerable people in a society – the poor, minorities, children, the elderly, and the disabled. These groups often have the fewest resources to prepare for a flood, live in the highest-risk locations in substandard housing, and lack the knowledge or social and political connections necessary to take advantage of resources that would speed their recovery after a natural disaster.

In a November 14, 2016, Silver Jackets webinar, we hear about a method that allows us to factor in vulnerability, referred to as the Social Vulnerability Index.  This index tool utilizes census data on a GIS platform and can identify communities and vulnerable populations within our nation that may have a difficult time managing a comprehensive response or long-term recovery.  This comparative metric tool is useful during problem identification in providing a broad perspective and can contribute to the development of more complete and acceptable alternatives and projects.

Susan Durden, a senior economist with the Institute for Water Resources, steps us through the process.  As a senior economist, she develops planning methods and tools to address economic, social, and environmental needs in water resources.
Ms. Durden has degrees in economics and education with extensive post-graduate training in strategic planning, conflict resolution, environmental issue resolution, and communications.

A copy of Ms. Durden's presentation (pdf, 2.79 MB) is available as well as the recorded session (mp3, 8.36 MB).

Date: November 14, 2016

NIST Community Resilience Guides and Activities  +/-

On August 23, Stephen Cauffman, a Research Engineer with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), was the feature presenter for a Silver Jackets webinar on the "NIST Community Resilience Guides and Activities." The webinar provided background on the motivation for community resilience and the approach that NIST is taking in its community resilience program. The focus of the webinar was to introduce the Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems, a six-step planning process for community resilience. The webinar also introduced the companion Economic Decision Guide, that allows for competing projects to be evaluated not only on their contribution to improved resilience, but also co-benefits that can be derived during normal conditions.

A copy of Mr. Cauffman's bio (pdf, 183 KB) and his presentation (pdf, 2.0 MB) are available as well as the recorded session (mp3, 10.0 MB).

Date: August 23, 2016

USGS Texas Water Dashboard  +/-

For a June 10, 2016 Silver Jackets webinar, Mr. Daniel Pearson, the Data and Spatial Studies Chief from the USGS Texas Water Science Center, presented on a new USGS mapping application called the Texas Water Dashboard. The USGS Texas Water Science Center began development of the application in July 2015. The application delivers real-time water data in Texas and is composed of two related parts to provide easier access to water data from the USGS National Water Information System (NWIS). One element is a dynamic web mapping application that presents USGS real-time stream, lake, reservoir, precipitation, and groundwater well data from over 750 observation stations in Texas in context with current weather and hazard conditions such as current precipitation, past precipitation totals, future precipitation forecasts, and drought conditions. Additionally, the USGS Texas Water Science Center, in partnership with Twitter, developed two autonomous data feeds to deliver water level and precipitation data for sites experiencing potentially hazardous conditions. This first-generation tool from Texas is being considered as a potential national solution for USGS in the future.

A recording (mp3, 12.1 MB) of the webinar, a copy of the bio (pdf, 210 KB) and the presentation slides (pdf, 8.46 MB) are available.

Date: June 10, 2016

Using Serious Games to Improve Flood Risk Awareness and Build Resilience  +/-

A Silver Jacket webinar was held on May 17th entitled: Using Serious Games to Improve Flood Risk Awareness and Build Resilience. Serious or applied games incorporate gaming elements into simulations of real-world events or processes to promote problem solving and 'learning by doing.' It is not a new concept, and many fields including military, health, business, and education have used games to educate, train and motivate the player. The Silver Jackets webinar explores how serious games have been used by the USACE and others to improve flood risk awareness, identify solutions to manage risk, and improve resilience.

Elizabeth Eide, Director of the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources and the Water Science and Technology Board for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine moderated the panel discussion. She set the stage by providing background on the advantages of using serious games to build disaster resilience and the positive challenges of game development.

The panel showcased three serious games that use different formats but have a common goal of improving flood risk awareness (as well as for other hazards) and identifying solutions to make a community more resilient.

  • Michelle Schultz, Enterprise GIS Specialist at USACE Omaha District, demonstrated the Missouri River Balancer, an animated video game that provides insight into the challenges of operating the Missouri River reservoir system for multiple purposes, including flood risk management.
  • Patrice Legro, Director of the Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences, described Extreme Events, a role-playing game developed in collaboration with the Resilient America Roundtable to help communities learn how to work together to identify the resources needed to become more resilient during a disaster.
  • Harvey Hill from the USACE Institute for Water Resources, an American Association for the Advancement of Science Policy Fellow, shared how competitive Multi-Hazard Tournaments can improve flood risk awareness and result in innovative risk reduction solutions that address multiple hazards.

Copies of the slides are available through these five hyperlinks:  Welcome and bios, Elizabeth Eide’s slides, Michelle Schultz’s slides, Patrice Legro’s slides, and Harvey Hill’s slides.  The recording is accessible as well.

Date: May 17, 2016

Evaluating the Feasibility of Adopting Nonstructural Measures as Applied in Manhattan, Kansas  +/-

The webinar held May 6, 2016 covered some of the inroads that the National Nonstructural Flood Proofing Committee has made.

In 1985, the USACE expanded their flood risk management portfolio  by establishing the National Nonstructural Flood Proofing Committee to promote the use of nonstructural flood proofing measures  As a reminder, the nonstructural measures differ from structural measures in that they focus on reducing the consequences of flooding instead of focusing on reducing the probability of flooding.

As the Chairman of the National Nonstructural Flood Proofing Committee, Randy Behm traveled the country conducting nonstructural workshops.  In the course of providing technical assistance, Randy and the committee have implemented a number of efficiencies.  This webinar addresses these products.

A cost effective approach has been developed to do a broad-brush analysis of a large geographic floodplain to determine the viability of nonstructural flood proofing measures.  Brian Rast’s presentation highlights the successes and lessons learned when applied to Manhattan, Kansas.

Copies of the bios (pdf, 344 KB) and the presentation (pdf, 3.88 MB) can be accessed. A recording (mp3, 7.89 MB) of the main presentation is also available.

Date: May 6, 2016

Connection with Private Philanthropy and NGOs  +/-

Are you looking for new partners to help manage flood risk and build resilience? Have you considered working with philanthropies, such as community foundations? The Silver Jackets Program hosted a one-hour webinar on working with philanthropy for flood risk management on Wednesday, March 2, 2016.

Bob Ottenhoff, the President and CEO of The Center for Disaster Philanthropy and a veteran in philanthropy and non-profit leadership, was the key presenter. Philanthropy is the use of private dollars for the public good. Partnering with philanthropies can offer benefits including: flexible funding, a different lens on community life, knowledge capital, networking opportunities, and increased transparency & public trust.

During this webinar, the potential benefits of partnering with philanthropies were discussed, as well as how to find and engage philanthropies in your area. The Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s mission is to transform disaster giving to increase donor effectiveness throughout the lifecycle of disasters.

A recording of the webinar as well as the PowerPoint presentation are available.

Date: March 2, 2016



FEMA’s National Mitigation Planning Program – Overview and Updates  +/-

The Silver Jackets program hosted a one hour webinar on mitigation planning and the new guidance.  Jennifer Burmester, the National Mitigation Planning Program Manager from FEMA HQ, stepped the participants through the basics of mitigation planning while introducing the new 2015 guidance.

The mitigation planning process is an opportunity for key players to come together and collaborate on identifying and reducing potential risks from known hazards.  The majority of communities and most of the states have mitigation plans on the books. Now the challenge is to make them dynamic plans that effect change and engage key players.

Good mitigation plans are key to states’ efforts to break the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damages.  It is not uncommon for a Silver Jackets team or an interagency, flood risk management team to use the existing state mitigation plan as a focus document to identify long-term strategies for risk reduction.

The final part of the webinar includes report-outs from two USACE district personnel on how states’ mitigation plans have been important for the teams’ success.

The PowerPoint and the recorded session are available.

Date: November 17, 2015

Climate Preparedness and Resilience Webinar  +/-

States across the nation are dealing with the very important issue of climate change, which can cause different types of disasters from drought to record breaking floods. There is no doubt that the climate is changing and will continue to change, thereby increasing hydrologic variability. Collaborative efforts are needed to translate best available science into usable information for decision-makers.

Silver Jackets hosted a webinar on October 21, 2015, to address climate change and provide tools for floodplain managers. Kate White, the USACE Lead for the Responses to Climate Change Program, introduced the audience to Climate Preparedness and Resilience and presented resources, tools, and Corps guidance relevant to flood risk management.

A copy of her PowerPoint can be accessed as well as the recorded session.

Date: October 21, 2015

Improving Public Response to NWS Coastal Flood Forecasts  +/-

The Silver Jackets program hosted a one hour webinar on Understanding and Improving Public Response to NWS’s Coastal Flood Forecasts. Rachel Carr, the Director of the Nurture Nature Center, was the primary presenter. The National Weather Service (NWS) has a comprehensive and timely suite of flood forecast and warning products that provide accurate information that residents can use to prepare when coastal flooding occurs. Still, many residents fail to take steps to protect their lives and property. What barriers prevent effective risk communication, and what forecast products do the public value most? Rachel presented recently released findings from a social science research study that addressed these questions. This study, “They Had the Facts, Why Didn’t They Act”, was funded through NOAA’s Coastal Storm Awareness Program to understand decision-making during extreme weather events. The study looked at how residents of the New Jersey coast understood and valued the coastal flood forecast and warning products issued by the NWS during Hurricane Sandy with a particular emphasis on the role emergency briefings could play in communicating risk to public audiences.

The PowerPoint and the recorded session are available.

Date: September 30, 2015

Rapid Assessment of Flooding Toot (RAFT)  +/-

On June 25, 2015, Ryan Cahill, a hydraulic engineer from USACE Portland District, addressed the Oregon Silver Jackets Team's development of a Rapid Assessment of Flooding Tool (RAFT) that was highlighted in the spring issue of the Silver Jackets newsletter. The interactive, real-time tool characterizes the severity of forecasted flooding across the state. The tool synthesizes flood frequency data from various federal partners, as well as flood forecasts from NWS Forecast Center, and depicts expected severity of flooding.

Ryan explained the motivation behind RAFT, described the structure, identified the uses, and demonstrated its applications. The RAFT is a prime example of agencies working together to produces a better product.

The recorded session and the presentation including Ryan Cahill’s bio are available.

Date: June 25, 2015

Public Involvement in Flood Risk Management Pilot Program Results  +/-

On June 11, 2015, the Silver Jackets program hosted a webinar to present the results of a two-year pilot program to increase public involvement in flood risk management activities.  Maria Lantz with the USACE Institute of Water Resources (IWR) organized and introduced a panel to discuss the results.  The panel members included:  Bruce Laclereque, Flood Control Program Manager from Santa Cruz County, CA; Joel Benegar, Senior Program Planner from San Francisco District, Chad Bunger, Senior Planner with the City of Manhattan, KA; Quana Higgins, Tribal Liaison and Lead Planner for the Los Angeles District; and Eileen Takata, a Watershed Program Manager from USACE IWR.

The pilot program was prefaced on the experts’ conclusions that, if we increase engagement with communities in which we are trying to reduce risks, we will achieve better outcomes.  The webinar focused on the results of the program and featured specific activities from several of the projects.  The presenters focused on successes, as well barriers, to increasing community engagement.

The PowerPoint presentation, the recorded session, and the individual bios of each of the panelist are available.

Date: June 11, 2015



Social Science Study on Effective Flood Risk Managing  +/-

Emergency managers and others working in flood-prone communities know only too well that getting residents to evacuate and take the right action during a flood event can be difficult. Even with highly accurate and timely data available from the National Weather Service, people often don’t take steps to prepare and evacuate prior to a major flood event. Rachel Hogan Carr, Director of the Nurture Nature Center, presented findings from a recent social science study on communications.  The findings resulted in recommendations about how the National Weather Service and others can improve flood forecast and warning tools so that they are easier to understand and more likely to motivate people to take protective actions. Download the presentation slides (pdf, 4.1 MB) and audio recording (mp3, 30.0 MB).

Date: November 12, 2014

Mobile Information Collection Application (MICA) System  +/-

The Mobile Information Collection Application (MICA) system offers real-time data collection and decision support using mobile devices.  It is an excellent tool for those in the field and for those that support them. Pictures, videos, notes, or custom form data can be captured digitally from the start and made available for analysis immediately, saving hours of writing on forms and typing data into spreadsheets. MICA has been used primarily by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to collect information on situational awareness, debris removal, and flood damage to levees and infrastructure. Floodplain managers and staff from multiple agencies could potentially use the MICA tool to collect high-water data, identify substantially damaged buildings, track past mitigation projects, and flag structures for future mitigation projects. The presentation slides and video recording are available.

Date: May 13, 2014



Risk Communication and the Nebraska Silver Jackets Team  +/-

With so many agencies involved with flood risk management, emergency response, levee safety, and water resources, the diversity of flood risk messages available to the public can be overwhelming, and no single agency or website provides the public with a full understanding of flood risk management. To address this need, several agencies have teamed up through Nebraska Silver Jackets to more efficiently get the message out. A unique and innovative outcome is the new website. The team also hosted a well-attended and well-received educational seminar for levee sponsors and stakeholders. As shown through pre- and post-tests, the interagency group of presenters increased understanding of key levee safety concepts, the levee safety process, evolution of levee safety laws and programs, and risk treatment methods.  Download the presentation slides  (pdf, 2.52 MB) and audio recording (mp3, 11.7 MB).

Date: December 12, 2013

Community-based Hydrologic Warning Systems  +/-

Community-based Hydrologic Warning Systems (CHWS) provide a cost effective nonstructural flood risk reduction strategy when properly designed and implemented. Whether developing a project to address coastal concerns, dam safety, river flooding or a variety of other hydrologic hazards, understanding the technology available to capture and effectively communicate associated risk is critical to the success of the CHWS. This presentation examines the necessary components of a CHWS, strategies for implementation of a CHWS, and potential benefits beyond saving lives and property. This webinar was presented by the National Hydrologic Warning Council (NHWC), whose membership includes flood-warning professionals, service providers, and vendors in the United States and abroad.  Download the presentation slides (pdf, 8.39 MB).

Date: March 27, 2013

Natural Hazard Mitigation Association’s Resilient Neighbors Network  +/-

In early 2012, the Natural Hazard Mitigation Association (NHMA) launched a program named Resilient Neighbors Network to link together grassroots communities that are working to become safer, disaster-resilient, and sustainable. NHMA has been working with ten pilot communities around the USA to create a peer-to-peer sharing network in order to enable grassroots communities to work together to strengthen and expand local hazard-mitigation programs. The presentation slides (pdf, 4.23 MB) includes an overview of the Resilient Neighbors Network initiative and local examples from Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was organized by NHMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

Date: February 1, 2013



Risk MAP and North Carolina’s Digital Flood Risk Implementation  +/-

In 1999, Hurricane Floyd flooded thousands of square miles of eastern North Carolina and left thousands of people homeless. This disaster highlighted North Carolina’s vulnerability to natural disasters and the need for accurate, up-to-date floodplain maps for safer floodplain development standards. In a webinar hosted by FEMA and USACE, John Dorman, the Director of the Geospatial and Technology Management Office, North Carolina’s Department of Public Safety, walked through the progress that the state has made since 2000. With the support of FEMA and other federal and state agencies, the state has implemented a statewide digital risk management vision. The state’s work eliminated the need for the cartographic production of digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps, developed a statewide building footprint dataset of 5.2 million structures, surveyed 165,000 first floor elevations and 4,100 miles of coastal roadway elevations, and established an interactive flood hazard risk management website

Date: July 17, 2012

Take Flood Awareness to Action with NFIP FloodSmart Tools  +/-

FloodSmart, the marketing campaign of the National Flood Insurance Program, has published tools and information to communicate clearly about flood risk and flood insurance. This webinar (pdf, 1.6 MB) shared information gained about communicating flood risk, demonstrated interactive tools, and showed new features available on These features include numerous website widgets, testimonial videos, a levee simulator, and an interactive risk profile - most of which can be shared on your website(s). 

Date: July 11, 2012

Community Rating System: How the Changes in the CRS Can Affect Your Agency  +/-

A webinar (pdf, 1.30 MB) on Community Rating System (CRS) reviewed the basics of the program and focused on expected changes to the program with the publication of the 2012 CRS Coordinator's Manual. The webinar encouraged agencies to get involved by offering communities technical assistance and prepared the agencies to help communities asking for help in meeting the revised requirements or increasing CRS credit. 

Date: May 1, 2012



Community Rating System Program  +/-

The Community Rating System (CRS) program recognizes local community action to manage risk beyond the minimum steps required by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and provides a unique opportunity for communities to lessen the cost of NFIP premiums paid by their residents. 

Bill Lesser from FEMA HQ was the feature presenter for a webinar cosponsored by FEMA and the USACE on the basics of CRS and how it overlaps with the goals of the Silver Jackets teams. Al Goodman from the State of Mississippi presented on CRS User Groups and offered the state perspective. Stephanie Bray from USACE emphasized the advantages of Silver Jackets involvement with the CRS program. The hour long webinar was recorded.

Date: September 20, 2011

Sustainability with U.S. Department of HUD  +/-

A one hour, fifteen minute recorded webinar provided an overview of the US Department of HUD's Community Sustainability initiative to allow Silver Jackets team members and HUD Sustainability Officers to identify opportunities to leverage resources to meet common goals in order to strengthen community resiliency through community mitigation planning and projects. The webinar also includes a presentation summarizing the Natural Hazards Mitigation Association’s interagency “patchwork quilt” approach to addressing a community's long-term objectives while building livable, sustainable communities. Leveraging multiple programs can create a synergy more beneficial than a project developed by any agency working alone. See also, the supporting document: "Planning and Building Livable, Safe and Sustainable Communities: the Patchwork Quilt Approach", June 2011 (pdf, 1.10 MB). The webinar was sponsored by HUD, FEMA, USACE and the Natural Hazards Mitigation Association (NHMA).

Date: June 2, 2011

The State of Flood Risk Reduction in the US: Are We Reducing Risk or Incentivizing It?  +/-

A one hour, forty minute recorded webinar on the status of flood risk management and the prognosis for moving the effects in a sustainable direction that reduces risk and gradually restores the ecological services performed by our nation's floodplains. Presenters include: Sandra Knight, Deputy Assistant Administrator of Mitigation for FEMA, Alex Dornstauder, Deputy Director of Homeland Security from USACE, Larry Larson, Executive Director of ASPFM, James Fiedler, President of National Association of Flood and Stormwater Management Agencies, and Andrew Fahlund, Senior Vice President for Conservation from American Rivers was held May 4, 2011. 

Date: May 4, 2011

Risk MAP and Silver Jackets  +/-

This webinar (pdf, 1.45 MB) introduced FEMA’s Risk Mapping Assessment and Planning (Risk MAP) process, focused on its public engagement pieces and outlined some of the mutual benefits stemming from a strong Silver Jackets/Risk MAP linkage.

Date: April 28, 2011

Webinar key words

Are you looking for the national workshop pages? Find them here.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers supports state-led Silver Jackets Teams through its Flood Risk Management Program.