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Minnesota Silver Jackets

The Minnesota Silver Jackets team was formed to develop or identify and recommend implementations of common solutions that will strategically help to minimize the reoccurring serious affects of natural hazards in the state of Minnesota. It also aims to establish an interagency approach to sharing knowledge and agency resources to plan and recommend the implementation of strategic measures to proactively reduce the risks and predictable affects to communities impacted by natural hazard events.

The mission of the Minnesota Silver Jackets team is to establish an interagency working group with State and Federal Agencies to:

  • Enable the effective and efficient sharing of information;
  • Identify and promote the sharing and coordination of available agency resources; and
  • Promote natural hazard risk education and information dissemination throughout the state of Minnesota.

The team is involved in many activities, including: 

  • Building on the relationships and the collaboration forged during the recovery from the June 2012 storms. The High Water Mark data acquired from that event is an important component the post flood report, as the impacted areas had little previous flood data available. 
  • The Communication and Outreach sub-committee is investigating enhancements to existing public risk education efforts. 
  • Members of the Silver Jackets team are participating in the Integrated Warning Team that is led by the National Weather Service in the Red River of the North basin. The goal of the team is to increase risk awareness and response participation of the public by making information more relevant, easy to understand, and accessible.
  • Under a pilot project, the team developed inundation maps for the downtown area of St. Paul, including leveed and non-leveed areas. 
  • A second pilot project was awarded for development of a GIS methodology to use existing LiDAR data sets to locate undocumented levees.

Team Activities

A Pilot Project Using GIS to Map Undocumented Levees in Minnesota

Local, state, and federal managers tasked with forecasting flood peaks, predicting the extent of flood inundation, mitigating the risk associated with flooding or levee failure, or responding during flood emergencies require detailed knowledge about levee locations and characteristics. Although some levees are accredited in FEMA’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps and supporting studies and/or included in the USACE National Levee Database, many undocumented, unaccredited, and often unmaintained levees exist, which complicates flood forecasting, risk management, and emergency response.

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Collaboration Aids Effective Post-Flood Documentation and Recovery

Severe flooding struck northeastern Minnesota in June 2012. Damages from flooding were extensive and included major transportation disruptions and damages to homes and businesses, dams and flood-control structures, and parks and recreation areas. Damage caused by the flooding resulted in a Presidential Disaster Declaration on July 6, 2012.

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Emergency Action Plan Guidebook Template

The Minnesota Silver Jackets Team, in association with the North Dakota Silver Jackets Team, FEMA, MN Homeland Security and Emergency Management, USACE EM, and the USACE Levee Safety CoP, developed this guide for small to medium sized communities and tribes as a way to develop and document the information they would need to have a safe and effective flood emergency response.  Many communities rely on county and state all-hazard plans, but have not complied the critical information for their location-specific conditions.  This is also an opportunity to record the institutional knowledge of those residents and public officials who have experienced local flood events.  The St. Paul District, through Silver Jackets support, has been able to conduct local and regional workshops on how to develop these community level flood emergency action plans."  All of the documents and fillable forms for the guidebook can be found at the following link: http://www.mvp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Flood-Risk-Management/Emergency-Action-Plan-Guidebook/.