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Minnesota: 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.

Flood information was needed by federal, state, and local agencies to make informed decisions in meeting mission requirements related to flood hazard mitigation, planning, and response. Timely information on the magnitude and frequency of floods was important to help respond to flood damage, enhance emergency response management, protect infrastructure, provide recovery guidance from the National Flood Insurance Program and State regulatory programs, and plan for future flood events. 

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), led a study to document the meteorological and hydrologic conditions leading to the flood and to compile flood-peak gage heights, stream flows, and annual exceedance probabilities at USGS stream gages. The study also provided data to construct flood profiles and flood-peak inundation maps. 

The Minnesota Silver Jackets team was highly effective in leveraging limited agency funds to assist in this multi-agency study. The Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were all able to contribute data and information to the study.

The fact that the Silver Jackets team was already in place before the event laid the groundwork for effective coordination and timely action. The demonstrated teamwork provided an assurance to community officials and residents that they were receiving comprehensive customer service through a broad range of government programs. Having several agencies attend damage assessment meetings presented a unified message and introduced the counties to helpful programs.