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Silver Jackets in Action

Willow Creek Scenario Inundation Mapping (FY17)

This interagency project includes the Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC), DOT&PF, USGS, NOAA/NWS, Mat-Su Borough, State DCRA and DHS&EM, and FEMA as Partners.  The recently updated NFIP maps in the Mat-Su Borough are limited to the 100-yr and 500-yr inundation extents.  At Willow Creek, larger floods may occur and render the railroad and DOT bridges impassable, preventing transportation in to and out of the area.  This study will build on the FEMA models and generate additional flood scenario maps to inform the community, ARRC and DOT&PF of potential high water flows and the consequences associated.  

Koyukuk Floodplain Information Report

This interagency project documented the complex flood history of the community of Koyukuk - situated along the Yukon River near the confluence of the Koyukuk River.  Historical inundation maps were developed by consolidating oral food history reports, high water mark surveys, and documented flood reports.  The study will be used to update the community Hazard Mitigation Plan, provide flood risk information to community residents, and inform future development in the area.

Juneau Jokulhlaup Inundation Mapping

This interagency project provides modeling and mapping of inundation caused by glacial-outburst or jokulhlaup flooding on the Mendenhall River in Juneau, Alaska.  Jokulhlaup, an Icelandic word for an event from a country that’s been dealing with this phenomenon for years, has recently created record-level floods in within Alaska that are predicted to continue. Recent updates to FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps did not include floods resulting from glacial outburst events. Therefore, the Alaska District worked closely with the City and Borough of Juneau (CBJ) and the hydrologist from the Alaska-Pacific River Forecast Center to conduct high water mark surveys, develop river hydraulic modeling, and determine flooding boundaries for the Mendenhall River.

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Bi-Lingual Poster Brings Flood Risk Reduction Messages to the Inupiat

Throughout the summer of 2014, the State of Alaska Silver Jackets team partnered with the Northwest Arctic Borough to design a bi-lingual English and Inupiat poster detailing simple measures that people can take to reduce their flood risk. The Borough was able to provide translation services through The Aqqaluk Trust, a non-profit entity that works to provide education on language and culture of the Inupiaq people of northwest Alaska. The poster was printed and mailed to the cities, tribes, and other public entities throughout the Northwest Arctic Borough in an effort to effectively provide information about flood risks. The team is hopeful that this effort can help inform people about their risks and steps they can take to manage that risk.

Bob Kidd Dam Flood Risk Assessment and Mitigation Plan

Flood Risk Assessment diagramThe Arkansas Silver Jackets Team is currently participating in a multi-purpose study to assess flood hazards, residual flood risk, dam break flood risk scenarios, and a mitigation strategy with an effective emergency response and communication plan, such as early warning systems. As part of Silver Jackets strategy, this is a multi-agency study with Arkansas Natural Resource Commissions (ANRC), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM), and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).  USGS will conduct the dam assessment and install reservoir stage gage, and USACE will conduct an H&H analysis of the watershed and assess downstream flood risks and dam safety vulnerabilities. ANRC and ADEM will provide technical assessment of flood impacts on the community and strategies for emergency response. The initial risk assessment of the dam will be used to develop mitigation strategies. This helps facilitate shared responsibility for flood risk and acknowledge and communicate residual risk of structural flood risk solutions. The report and communication tools will also serve as a template for other communities in the state. This non-structural project will enhance community resiliency from flood risks.

2011 Post Flood Assessment and Inundation Mapping

Flood Assessment and Inundation Mapping ReportThe State Silver Jackets Team worked to assess the devastating floods that occurred in the Spring of 2011 across Arkansas and Southern Missouri.  The flood claimed 13 lives in Arkansas and Missouri and resulted in disaster declarations for 59 Arkansas counties.  The project scope resulted in inundation maps calibrated to 122 collected high water marks data and flood-frequency analysis at 37 streams gages. The flood-frequency analysis resulted in one stream gage flood probability of less than 0.2% (greater than 500 years) and three stream gages with a flood probability of less than 0.5% (greater than 200 years).  The resulting flood data is used by Federal, State, and local agencies to make informed decisions in meeting mission requirements related to flood hazard mitigation, planning and response.  This multi-agency efforts involved members from the U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and Arkansas Natural Resource Commission (ANRC).  The project was a major success and the resulting data has been used by state and local officials in Levee Safety, Dam Safety and Emergency Management.

Grayson, CA Project

The objective of this Flood Risk Management Study is to develop solutions to manage flood risk in Grayson, California. The California Department of Water Resources is particularly interested in this multi-benefit project as there may be a unique opportunity to provide habitat enhancement and public recreation benefits, as well as providing transportation and infrastructure benefits by reducing inundation of the Grayson Road Bridge and associated flooding.  

Grayson, California

California DWR Levees Evaluation

The State of California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has embarked on a major study to evaluate the geotechnical adequacy of levees in California’s Central Valley (Sacramento and San Joaquin River Flood Reduction Systems). This study provides the State and local communities with information about the status of the levees as one piece in the floodplain management equation. This piece provides communities with information about geotechnical characteristics, which influences floodplain and flood risk management decisions.

The benefits from this program include better informed flood risk management decisions and improved flood protection. Identifying and repairing deficient levees will decrease the potential of flooding and loss of life from flood events.

California Flood Risk Education Project 

Several agencies, organizations, and educators were involved in this project, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Weather Service, CA Department of Water Resources, CA Department of Education, Sacramento County Office of Education, Water Education Foundation/Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), and Green 360.

This project will increase awareness of flood risk, especially among children, to enable them to prepare for and take action in case of a flood emergency. Additionally, this project also improves USACE involvement in the Science Technology Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields, as well as Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.

The products that emerged from this project include a Simulated Water Management Model. This interactive computer model promotes critical thinking through “simulation games” that can be played by middle and high school students. This project also resulted in a children’s flood preparedness activity book for younger kids.

I Am Ready: Flood Preparedness Activity Book

Watershed University

Watershed University is a free event that provides education and networking opportunities for California professionals in floodplain management, water management, emergency management and related fields. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in partnership with California Department of Water Resources, CAL Fire, and Merced Office of Emergency Services (Merced OES), hosted this event in April 2016 at the Merced OES facility in Atwater and online. Participants earned Continuing Education Credits by attending the full two-day event online or in person.

Topics include:

  • FEMA Flood Mapping
  • National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Update
  • California Water Action Plan Update
  • Flood Risk Communication Tools, Tips and Techniques
  • Climate Change and Drought Risk versus Flood Risk
  • Partnering and Collaboration for Integrated Water (and Land) Management

For more information about Watershed University, please visit:

http://water.ca.gov/floodmgmt/watershed-university/

QR Code: Know Your Flood Risk

This project was accomplished in partnership with California’s Department of Water Resources (DWR), California State Parks, and the City of West Sacramento, and it aimed to achieve a goal of increasing public and policymaker awareness of flood risk in California.

The team produced an interactive, web-based tool using free, open-source software (ESRI Story Maps) and a flyer with Quick Response (QR) code to send users to the digital product.  The digital product is an interactive presentation that includes photos, maps, and videos designed to educate the audience on Sacramento’s flood risk and history.  Click here to access the product on the ESRI story map website.  The QR code can be scanned with a smart phone application to bring a user directly to the website instead of needing the link.  As a pilot location, the Story Map was created to be geographically specific for Sacramento, California and surrounding areas.  However, the content of the tool can be amended and localized to other areas, with changes to text and graphics.

California QR Code

Promoting California Flood Preparedness Week

The California Silver Jackets Team supports the annual California Flood Preparedness Week. Several federal, state and local government agencies in California join together to educate citizens about California’s diverse flood types and encourage them to take action to reduce their flood risk. Every one of California’s 58 counties has had at least one federally declared flood disaster in the past 20 years and more than $575 billion in infrastructure and $7 billion in crops are exposed to flooding. Because flooding can happen at any time, the goals of this statewide effort are to increase public awareness of flooding and improve public safety for all Californians. 

“Know Your Line” High Water Mark Initiative Raises Awareness

Nearly every community in the United States is at risk for flooding but most Americans do are unaware of their risk. To improve the public's awareness of flood risk and encourage them to take action to reduce it, FEMA and seven other Federal agencies developed the "Know Your Line: Be Flood Aware" initiative. The Know Your Line initiative helps communities showcase their local flooding history and motivate their residents to take action by posting high water mark signs in prominent places showing how high flood waters have risen in the past. Communities are encouraged to hold a high profile event to announce the initiative, followed by a wide range of supporting activities to remind residents of their flood risk over time and prompt them to take steps to reduce it. In California, the Cities of Sacramento and Roseville are participating in this pilot program. 

Click here to view the Sacramento and Roseville Pilot Summary.

Sea-Level Change and Storm Surge Implications for Selected Inland Areas of Florida

It is likely that one of the biggest impacts of Sea-level Change (SLC) will be on storm surge. As sea levels increase, the starting point for storm surge will change, and could cause the impacts to be felt further inland and more frequently. There are several tools available including maps, models, and analysis that can be used to assess vulnerability and risk associated with SLC and storm surge. The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has developed guidance for incorporating SLC consideration into all USACE water resources management projects.

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Establishing a “High Water Marks Strike Team”

In July 2012, after Tropical Storm Debby, the Florida Silver Jackets team responded to the need for recording high water marks (HWMs) by developing a plan that calls for a HWM Strike Team and a central repository for collection and review. The plan is expected to reduce costs and redundancies, increase expediencies, and produce a better product.

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Flood Inundation Mapping & Community Outreach

The Georgia Silver Jackets team has created multiple partnerships with communities to prepare libraries of flood inundation maps.  The detailed maps show the predicted area and depth of flooding in near real-time at selected sites with forecast point gages.  These maps use high-resolution digital elevation data, including LiDAR, and hydrodynamic modeling.  The composite of flood maps are displayed on an interactive viewer on the NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service website for all to see.

Floodplain Vulnerability Analysis

The Georgia Silver Jackets Team is assisting Augusta/Richmond County, GA in reducing the risk of loss of life and damages to property along the Rocky Creek within the Hyde Park and Aragon Park subdivisions. The analysis provides information about properties vulnerable to flooding.

Risk Communication & the Macon Levee Flood Risk Management Project

The Macon levee system protects 2,900 acres of the City of Macon consisting of commercial, industrial, municipal, and agricultural properties.  The area protected is flat and poorly drained.  This project is an opportunity to enhance communications, collaboration, and relationships among the different federal, state, city, and county agencies regarding flood risk reduction.  It will also provide an opportunity to develop a process for each agency to share their data and information and provide resources in their area of expertise.

Visioning Hawaii's Adaptation to Climate Change

In August 2011, the Pacific Islands Silver Jackets initiative, the State of Hawaii's Coastal Zone Management Program, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sponsored a workshop to facilitate the development of a statewide climate change policy. Sixty participants engaged in a unique futures approach to policy development. The participants represented a wide array of interests including federal, state and county agencies, academia, Native Hawaiians, environmental non-profits, community organizations, business associates, insurance companies, and youth. The workshop resulted in the development of priority guidelines for climate change adaptation that was signed into law by the Governor of Hawaii in July 2012. Ongoing actions from the workshop include a climate change integrated planning committee working to support county, state and federal agency integration of climate adaptation planning into current regulatory regimes and a climate change outreach and education committee, working to communicate risk and uncertainty regarding climate change to government, legislature, and the public. 

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The American Samoan Tsunami Study - A Collaborative and Whole Community Approach to Developing Resilience

In March 2012, the Corps of Engineers’ Honolulu District and the American Samoa Government completed a plan under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Planning Assistance to the States (PAS) Program to strengthen American Samoa's ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from tsunami hazards. The plan identifies actions to improve knowledge, protocol, and infrastructure within American Samoa in order to maximize community resiliency. The study was based on developing a broad field of research topics to provide comprehensive coverage for assessing current tsunami resiliency and a significant public outreach component to capture the concerns of local officials and the knowledge and experience of subject matter experts. Engaging and maintaining local stakeholder participation was pivotal to the process and undertaken with due consideration to cultural norms, and customary practices.

So You’re a Floodplain Manager – An Idaho Resource Guide

So, You're a Floodplain Manager Cover Image

The Resource Guide was developed for newly appointed floodplain managers and contains an introductory video, templates, and other useful information.

Boise River Watershed

When a significant percentage of a state’s population resides in a watershed with significant flood risk, that watershed will receive focused attention by many agencies with different perspectives. The Boise River watershed, located in southwestern Idaho, is home to over 600,000 residents, more than one-third of Idaho’s population. Despite upstream federal storage projects and community participation in the National Flood Insurance Program, the watershed has more than $10 billion of infrastructure at risk for flood damage. The watershed is one of the highest flood risk priorities for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Walla Walla District.

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Mobile Application Improves Data Collection for Illinois Flood Risk Management

Time is precious during a flood event consequently an efficient response is most important.  In support of this concern, this pilot project provided the necessary components to identify lead times, evacuation plans, quantities, equipment, materials, and personnel to respond to a flood event, thereby shifting limited resources from planning to implementation.  The MICA (mobile information collection application), a Silver Jackets pilot project, established a standard operating procedure to provide the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Department of Natural Resources, Office of Water Resources (IDNR-OWR) personnel log-in access to MICA.  MICA tablets were deployed just in time for seasonal flooding. Team Member MICA tablet field use and exercises from April through September provided the necessary training for record Illinois River flooding occurring in July 2015 and again in December 2015 on river tributaries. The team also developed and added an IEMA Initial Damage Assessment Form.

As a result, this pilot project has reduced flood damages and improved life safety.  The pilot project MICA Phase II leveraged MICA Phase I knowledge to develop and incorporate additional essential features such as sketch tool, photo geo-location documentation, and data storage and retrieval. Phase I IDNR MICA team usage was extended by 12 months for Phase II feature field evaluation. Phase II has provided participants with an opportunity to beta test MICA Version 3.0. As a result, it is expected that this pilot project will continue to reduce future flood damages and improve life safety.  The methodology developed in this pilot project has been documented and can be used as the framework for other projects in similar communities across the nation.

Integrated Flood Response Program for Orange County, Indiana

The Indiana Silver Jackets Team has built a comprehensive flood risk reduction program in southern Indiana for Orange County (population 19,310).  The US Geological Survey, Indiana DNR, and the USACE worked together with local officials on several activities that were necessary to develop and incorporate a program within the County.

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Sharing Real-Time Flood Information

By bringing together several agencies, the Indiana Silver Jackets team was able to pair up technologies normally not used together to identify potential flood areas and when those areas would be impacted upon through the use of real time river gauge data. The pilot study successfully calibrated its model against actual river flow data for the White River in Indianapolis in 2008. Model outputs can be read in real time on a web-based system, and integrated with the HAZUS damage model, and GIS and local Property Valuation Administration (PVA) databases. The database integration allows local agencies to quickly determine where to focus flood fighting efforts and to provide reliable post-flood damage estimates. Real-time outputs gives citizens a tool to monitor flood progression and plan accordingly. The cost for setting up this system on a typical gauged stream is relatively low, on the order of less than $25K a stream mile. After a successful pilot, the team hopes to see the system expanded to cover as many as 20 other gauged stream locations within Indiana, subject to availability of funding.

Raising Flood Awareness with Children

The Indiana Silver Jackets team continued with prior year education efforts to reach out to children to educate them about flooding and severe weather and the measures they and their families can take to assure personal safety. This project involved a number of the team’s member agencies in the distribution of the activity book materials and outreach to various groups specifically working with children throughout the State.

Communicating Flood Risk & Mitigation Planning

Following multiple flooding events in 2008 and 2009 in portions of Noble, LaGrange, and Elkhart counties, a task team including participating Silver Jackets team members compiled the “North Branch Elkhart River West Lakes Task Team Report” to assist local stakeholders with an understanding of the science controlling regional relationships between precipitation, geology, stream flow, lake levels, natural resources, and flooding; investigate possible non-structural and structural actions to reduce flood risks; and identify financial and planning resources available through Federal and State Agencies. Several member state agencies also participated in the update to the Indiana State Hazard Mitigation Plan, resulting in a more comprehensive and accurate mitigation plan. 

Coordinating the Response to the 2008 Floods

The Indiana Silver Jackets group assumed the role of the Interagency Levee Task Force in Indiana following spring flooding in May and June 2008. Sharing time-critical information was one of the biggest benefits of the interagency coordination and cooperation, significantly speeding up and streamlining efforts. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) emailed the Corps’ Louisville District regarding Emergency Watershed work (stream bank & debris removal) for central Indiana. USDA had not conducted any recent activities of this nature and their cost data was outdated. Within a couple of days Louisville District had worked up and supplied an updated price list. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) was looking for a listing or a map identifying which dams and levees in Indiana the Corps could support with repairs. Within a business day, a list of the projects had been supplied that would qualify for Corps aid, as well as those projects that would not qualify. The Indiana Silver Jackets also supplied IDHS with the list of those communities that had already contacted the Corps for help. 

Developing Real Time Flood Inundation Model

Resolution of seemingly small issues can lead to greater collaboration. Team members were aware of differences between U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) data: differing boundaries used in the models produced flood elevation differences of up to two feet. The Silver Jackets team facilitated resolution, and within a short time, the data were aligned.  The state sees this as a valuable service; when all agencies can agree on a single set of data, the state mitigation program benefits.

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Outreach and Watershed Approach to Mitigation Planning

The North Branch Elkhart River Project evolved as the many participating agencies discussed a particular community's recurring efforts to resolve their flood risk management challenges. The community had sought studies and assistance from a number of individual state and federal agencies over many years, but none were coordinated, and little action followed.

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Flood Warning Systems and Interagency Approach to Mitigation Planning

In Orange County, Indiana, the Lost River flows through a karst environment, often under the surface. Flooding occurs without warning. The Indiana Silver Jackets team has implemented an interagency approach and found a way to create a flood warning system. By linking a number of newly placed U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) stream gages with a USACE Planning Assistance to States Hydrology and Hydraulics study of the underlying karst features below the communities, the community will receive automatic triggers when the water reaches levels corresponding to previously-observed flooding.

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Budget Savings Analyses of Impacts of Landuse Change

Communities often rely on floodplain maps based on historic flood frequency information that may no longer be accurate. Hydrologic variation due to land use and climate changes may cause greater flood risk than identified in currently available floodplain mapping products. New mapping and modeling with revised hydrology and hydraulics for evaluating flood risk often take considerable time and resources to develop, which a community’s budget may not support. Consequently, communities are making land use decisions based on the best available science that may be outdated and no longer representative of the existing flood risk.

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Nonstructural and Natural Storage Approaches after Levee Damaged

Recurring significant flood events and resultant physical damages to levees throughout the Midwest region have increased interest in implementing nonstructural alternatives to levee repairs. Public Law 84-99 (P.L. 84-99) provides the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) with the authority and responsibility to either repair flood-damaged levees enrolled in its levee Rehabilitation and Inspection Program or to implement nonstructural alternatives to those structural repairs.

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Improving Flood Risk Management following a Major Flood

In May 2010, the City of Frankfort, Kentucky, was impacted by a major flood. The event underlined the need for an active Silver Jackets team to take full advantage of the window of opportunity in moving flood risk management forward. One of the team’s first priorities was to work with the City of Frankfort to promote flood awareness and assist in flood risk management. Eleven state and federal agencies partnered with the City of Frankfort and Franklin County to take full advantage of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Silver Jacket Pilot Project funding to promote multi-agency collaboration and coordination while addressing community needs.

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Pro-Active Measures Identify At-Risk Culverts

Over the years in supporting presidential declarations, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has reimbursed millions of dollars for countless numbers of culvert repairs and road washouts to states, counties, and local communities. Culvert failures and subsequent road washouts have not only been expensive, but have led to serious business interruptions, as well as major inconveniences to residents. In many cases, the culverts were replaced with a larger culvert or hydraulic structure to mitigate future damage.

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Which Map Should I Use? Comparing Coastal Inundation Maps

The Maryland Silver Jackets team, working in partnership with the US Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, and NOAA, developed a short paper for local community officials and residents on the key differences and appropriate uses of Storm Surge Inundation Maps (SSIMs) created as part of a Hurricane Evacuation Study (HES) and Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) developed for the National Flood Insurance Program.

Regional Workshop Addresses Storm Surge and Coastal Flood Risk

Storms are becoming stronger and more prevalent, and they are wiping out entire coastal communities - and not just along the Gulf Coast.  The interagency Maryland Silver Jackets team was able to get a first-of-its-kind workshop funded that brought together state, county, and city floodplain managers; emergency managers; planners; and regulatory specialists to talk about storm surge and coastal flood risk for this Mid-Atlantic state. More than 70 attendees from various agencies participated in this two-day Maryland Coastal Flood Workshop, held March 11 - 12, 2015, in the small Eastern Shore town of Chester.

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Interagency Outreach on Risk and Benefits of New Flood Risk Management Project 

The Maryland developed an outreach brochure for the Cumberland-Ridgeley levee systems in Maryland and West Virginia, respectively, to distribute to homeowners, business owners and other stakeholders to communicate the associated benefits and risks of the project. Partners include the Corps, FEMA, National Weather Service, Maryland Department of the Environment and the City of Cumberland. This Corps of Engineers project consists of about 1.6 miles of channel improvements along Wills Creek; 1.7 miles of channel improvement along the North Branch Potomac River; levees and floodwalls on the left and right banks of the North Branch Potomac River; three pumping stations; eight pressure conduits; an industrial water-supply dam; reconstruction of a railroad bridge; track relocations; and reconstruction of piers and abutments for three highway bridges.

FFY17 Interagency Project – Charlemont, MA Flood Risk Management Plan

Photo of flooding in Massachusetts

Photo Credit: Katie Benedetti

The small town of Charlemont, MA experienced significant flooding in 2011 with damages exceeding $6 million and impacting critical facilities including the wastewater treatment plant; police, fire, and ambulance facilities/services; elementary school; and, two state highways. The town's 2015 Multi-hazard Mitigation Plan determined that flood risk remains high. Factors contributing to this risk include location of critical infrastructure within the Deerfield River floodplain and potential failure of multiple upstream high hazard dams in concert with a category 4 or 5 hurricane. The town has limited resources but is aware of the risk and desired to work with the Silver Jackets team to integrate existing and new data to assess vulnerabilities and develop a flood risk action plan and updated evacuation plan that will improve preparation and coordinated response between numerous entities including the town, Sewer District, and local industries. The Silver Jackets teams in partnership with the town will review all existing information including the local hazard mitigation plan, recently completed inundation maps, town plans, and lessons learned from recent flooding to complete the vulnerability assessment. Mitigation actions will be identified and prioritized with a focus on short term nonstructural actions.

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/.

Missouri River Flood Inundation Mapping

This inundation mapping project brought together the State Risk Management Team in Missouri and the Kansas Hazard Mitigation Team to develop inundation maps for the Missouri River from River Miles 377 to 398. The project included developing a prototype inundation map for discrete elevation levels to convey flood risks to communities between Parkville, Missouri and Leavenworth, Kansas and establishing the prototype process for making such inundation maps. The maps were developed with input from stakeholders from Ponca City, Nebraska to the river's mouth in St. Louis, Missouri, including Silver Jackets teams, state agencies, counties, cities, and levee owners, and incorporated lessons from the 2011 flood. Map development took into account how local communities would use the information and is intended to become a standard for doing Missouri maps so data will be communicated in a consistent manner for the whole river system. The flood forecast inundation maps are hosted by the National Weather Service, where inundation mapping coincides with a National Weather Service forecast point that can issue flood warnings. This project was supported with Silver Jackets Pilot (pdf, 913 KB) funding from the Army Corps of Engineers.  

Hazard Mitigation Measures for Levee Owners

In collaboration with the county and the levee owners, the Buchanan County Levee Districts' Hazard Mitigation Measures project established a useful template for levee owners seeking to establish an emergency action plan (EAP).  The interagency project also used hydraulic modeling to inform evacuation routes in three levees in the county on the east overbank of the Missouri River.  The Halls Levee District will get a developed EAP under this effort.  EAPs are considered an important part of interim risk reduction measures, where larger and long term issues have been identified during the USACE Levee Safety Action Classifications (LSACs), and these are short term actions that reduce risks.  The work is being done in coordination with the USACE Levee Safety Program, and was supported with Silver Jackets Pilot (pdf, 913 KB) funding from the Army Corps of Engineers.

Little Blue River Actions for Flood Risk Management

Several cities are striving to keep pace with managing development in the floodplain downstream from Blue Springs Lake and Longview Lake in the Kansas City Metro-area.  Independence, MO, requested an interagency effort to help communicate the flood risks to the public, specifically along the river below the dams at these lakes.  The project proposes the creation of two flood forecast inundation maps on the NOAA National Weather Sevice Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (similar to the first project, above).  In addition, the USACE will help the communities with a floodplain management plan. 

Little Blue poster for USACE Flood Risk Management Conference  (pdf, 590 KB)

Roubidoux Creek Flood Forecast Inundation Map

The project proposes the creation of a flood forecast inundation map on the NOAA National Weather Sevice Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (again, similar to the first project, above) for the Waynesville, MO.  This will better prepare the community for severe flooding, similar to the 2013 event, which saw Interstate-44 overtop by three feet and, unfortunately, resulted in loss of life nearby in the city.

Roudiboux Creek poster for USACE Flood Risk Management Conference (pdf, 892 KB)

Missouri River Flood Event Simulation Mapping

The team in Missouri has long been a proponent of communicating flood risks to stakeholders along the Missouri River with inundation maps.  This new project, Missouri River Flood Event Simulation Mapping (FESM) finally presents a continuous inundation map, but the project also establishes a process for use during changing circumstances.  The project enables a mapping process between the Corps of Engineers and the NOAA National Weather Service that during a flood event can account for levee breaches and overtopping and update maps of expected flooding in less than eight hours.

MO River FESM poster for USACE Flood Risk Management Conference  (pdf, 1.02 MB)

Levee Breach Analyses Support an Emergency Action Plan and Tabletop Exercise for Miles City, Montana

Miles City (population 8400) at the confluence of the Tongue and Yellowstone Rivers in Montana has seven miles of unmanaged and unengineered levees that date back to the 1930s. A recent floodplain modeling project indicated that the levees only provided adequate defense for a 25 year flood.  As a result, two-thirds of the city (3200 structures) is located within the 100 year floodplain.

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Nebraska’s NFIP Loss Properties are Definitively Identified and Mapped

According to FEMA, the number of repetitive flood losses are increasing throughout the country and putting a stress on the National Flood Insurance Program.  To address this problem, the Nebraska Silver Jackets Team asked that the USACE assist in reviewing each of the repetitive loss structures in the state and provide a Repetitive Loss Area Analyses so that the statewide hazard mitigation plan can be updated and improved.

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New Website Designed to Help the Public Make Flood Risk Decisions

With so many agencies involved with flood risk management, emergency response, and water resources, the number of flood risk messages available to the public can be overwhelming. No single agency has the full responsibility of flood risk management, and not surprisingly, no single website provides the public with a full understanding of flood risk management or flood response. To address this need, the Nebraska Silver Jackets team developed the Flood Risk and Floodplain Management Website.

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New Hampshire Team Welcomes the National Weather Service

At the New Hampshire Silver Jackets Team quarterly meeting on March 27, 2017, the team unanimously voted to add their newest member, NOAA - National Weather Service from Gray, ME, who then signed the team's interagency agreement.

New Hampshire Ice Jam Assessment and Outreach Project

On December 5, 2016, the NH Silver Jackets Team kicked off its second project, which includes partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL).  Since New Hampshire’s rivers are prone to ice jams and local officials often seek technical assistance from the state, the project will seek to enhance the Team’s understanding of ice jam science, increase the state’s ice jam response capability, and develop tools to address and mitigate ice jams.  The project will focus specifically on the Gale River at Franconia and Sugar Hill, which experienced ice jams and related flooding in 2012 and 2016.  The project will include: an assessment of existing conditions and recommend channel modifications, if appropriate; a geomorphic assessment to identify morphological changes that may have prompted ice jam formation; and production of an outreach package, to include Ice Observer Training, an item in the state’s Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Hinsdale Flood and River Vulnerability Assessment and Risk Communication Project

Hinsdale Site VisitIn November 2016, the NH Silver Jackets Team finalized the report for their first project, a flood and river vulnerability assessment and risk communication project for the Town of Hinsdale.   The project began in Spring 2015 when the Team was contacted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who asked for assistance with one of their grant projects, which was to assess the drinking water and wastewater infrastructure vulnerability in the Town of Hinsdale.  When the Team met with Hinsdale town officials, they requested additional assistance with flood-related concerns specifically those related to Kilburn Brook, which had experienced at least two flood events since 2005.  As a result, the Team’s first project was developed and approved in July 2015. Under the project, the following activities were completed: an assessment of Kilburn Brook to assist in understanding potential future hazards; an assessment of selected stream crossings in Hinsdale to provide information on those most at risk from river process compatibility and aquatic organism passage; provided the town a copy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Dams Flood Emergency Plan for Otter Brook Dam and Surry Mountain Dam, an item in their hazard mitigation plan; and provided an assessment and recommendations about Hinsdale’s floodplain management program.  The project provided the town with the necessary data and information to move forward with addressing the identified flood risks.

Upper Ohio-Shade Regional Nonstructural Workshop

The Upper Ohio-Shade Watershed Regional Nonstructural Workshop project was selected for funding in fiscal year 2016. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning Discovery Process has not been deployed for this watershed as the timeline between Ohio and West Virginia has not aligned. Four nonstructural workshops (two in each state) were held to achieve flood risk reduction and awareness. These workshops incorporated an overview of flood risks to impacted communities, benefits of proper floodplain management, education about effective nonstructural flood risk management measures, and explanation of mitigation opportunities and available funding sources. Final reporting and documentation is currently being prepared.

Ohio Workshop Stakeholder Presentations

West Virginia Stakeholder Presentations

Multimedia Outreach

The Multimedia Outreach project was selected for funding in fiscal year 2016. The project will develop video(s) for distribution to bring awareness to the general public, as well as, local officials regarding flood risk management and the positive impacts of nonstructural mitigation. The Ohio Silver Jackets team is currently developing a storyboard for the proposed videos. Videos will be created for targeted audiences and will highlight the life cycle approach to flood risk management.  These videos will be distributed and placed on partner websites, YouTube, social media, and presented at a future Ohio State Floodplain Managers Conference.

Mahoning Nonstructural FRM Informational Meeting and Media Product

The Mahoning County Nonstructural FRM Informational meeting and media project was selected for funding in fiscal year 2016. The Ohio Silver Jackets team held an informational meeting to present Federal and State programs that may be of assistance to the township.  The meeting was recorded and a video will be prepared and distributed to raise flood risk awareness.  Ohio Silver Jackets team members and a representative from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nonstructural Floodproofing Committee presented at the flood risk management informational meeting.  Final reporting and documentation is currently being prepared.  Presentations and materials can be found at http://www.lrp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Silver-Jackets-Program/.

Loss Avoidance Study

The Loss Avoidance Study was selected for funding in fiscal year 2016. The Ohio Silver Jackets team is conducting a Loss Avoidance Study for selected locations in Ohio. The study will assess the performance of implemented mitigation projects. Quantifying actual losses avoided (state currently has estimates only), would create awareness of the success of completed mitigation projects and help garner support for future mitigation projects. Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA) has completed Phase 1, Initial Project Selection. Ohio EMA has identified the Village of Ottawa and City of Findlay as the study areas and has collected required data components for Phase 1. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Ohio EMA are working together on Phase 2, Physical Parameter Analysis, which quantifies impacts of a flooding event.  USACE will complete Phase 3, Loss Estimation Analysis, to assess if losses were avoided. The project is scheduled for completion December 2016.

Marion County Floodplain Mapping

The Marion County flood study was selected for Funding in fiscal year 2015. The Ohio Silver Jackets team is conducting a flood study along the Scioto River through Marion County, Ohio. Bridge and culvert information needed for model development was provided by Marion County and the Ohio Department of Transportation. The U.S. Geological Survey shared their recently approved hydraulic and hydrology model for the Village of La Rue. This model is being incorporated into the study. Ohio Emergency Management Agency worked with Marion County Commissioners, the key Villages of La Rue, Prospect, and Green Camp to sign a resolution to adopt the results of this study as best available data until the physical map revision is completed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers modeling is scheduled for completion by September 2016.

HAZUS Level 2 Analysis

The HAZUS Level 2 Analysis proposal was selected for funding in July 2014. The flood analysis is for 25 counties in Ohio. The Huntington, Buffalo, and Louisville Districts are assisting with conducting the HAZUS Level 2 runs and OEMA is providing data such as parcel information. The results of the HAZUS Level 2 Analysis will be incorporated into the state and corresponding local Hazard Mitigation Plans and Local Emergency Operation Plans. The results would also assist state and local officials to prioritize proposed mitigation activities.

Oregon Team Develops Flood Preparedness & Recovery Webpage

State and Federal agencies participating in the Oregon Silver Jackets Team worked together to develop a comprehensive flood planning website for the public. This website has information and resources for use before, during and after a flood. Check out the webpage to learn how to reduce your flood risk!

Learning From History: 1964 Christmas Flood Awareness Campaign

The Oregon SJ team worked to develop an interagency public awareness campaign that stretched far beyond the Silver Jacket team members to many other agencies and groups to learn from the past and prepare for the future of flooding. Fifty years after the 1964 Christmas Flood – are you ready?

Visualize Flooding with High Water Mark Signs

Several agencies, including Silver Jackets Team partners, worked together to locate and install high water mark signage to increase public awareness in Albany, Turner and Oregon City.

Lycoming County Nonstructural Economic Assessment 

Jersey Shore Borough, Muncy Borough, and Old Lycoming Township have the highest risk of flood damages in Lycoming County. It is critical that mitigation actions be taken in these areas to reduce flood risk. Recent changes in legislation may result in increased flood insurance rates for many property owners. Nonstructural measures can help reduce flood damages to homes and reduce future flood insurance rates. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) plans to lead a study that will include evaluating nonstructural measures for 20 prototype structures (concept plan and cost), conducting building elevation surveys, performing a GIS evaluation and economic analysis, developing a cost matrix, and assisting with community outreach.  To encourage property owners to implement projects, the cost of implementing measures will be compared to the reduction in future damages and flood insurance costs. The USACE Nonstructural Flood Proofing Committee will conduct the flood-proofing evaluation. This analysis will be critical in helping Lycoming County determine which projects are most cost effective and will help them prioritize which structures to mitigate for first. The proactive county has already obtained funding to provide loans and grants for the implementation of these projects following our analyses. The results of the assessment will be available to use as an educational outreach product to other communities.

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Flood Inundation Mapping Tool

The Pennsylvania Silver Jackets Team developed a library of inundation maps tied to an existing stream gage to inform the general public, local officials, and emergency managers of flooding risks for the City of Harrisburg and adjacent communities along a 20-mile reach. Partners include the Corps of Engineers, US Geological Survey, Harrisburg Authority, Susquehanna River Basin Commission, National Weather Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

One Stop Shop for Online Flood Information

During a flood, residents and business owners are overwhelmed with pressing needs, making information flow a vital necessity. Community officials’ responsibilities escalate as they must notify its residents of shelters, keep people informed of upcoming weather patterns, and ensure that everyone has the best resources available to make informed and safe decisions. However, information flow is also critical before a flood and after it occurs. Preparation and knowledge are keys to being well-prepared for a potential flood; also, if affected by high water, community members will need to know who to contact to begin to repair and rebuild.

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Workshop for Residents Presents Technical Assistance and Guidance

Hurricane Irene tore through central Pennsylvania on August 27, 2011 and was followed within weeks by Tropical Storm Lee. Though these fall storms were not the most damaging to ever hit the state, their “one-two punch” had devastating effects. These events resulted in two separate Presidential Disaster Declarations and opened the door to mitigation grants to build back stronger. Now, almost two years later, the area is still rebuilding, and communities and residents continue to need technical assistance and guidance throughout the process of applying for grants and rebuilding.

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South Carolina Hurricane Evacuation Study - Critical Transportation Needs Study

To further get a handle on Critical Transportation Needs (CTN), data from multiple sources were collected to develop an estimation of the numbers and general locations of citizens within coastal SC in need of transportation assistance during an evacuation. Information was gathered from a telephone screening survey of 3,000 households, U. S. Census, and South Carolina Emergency Management Agency (SCEMA) evacuation zone spatial data. The U. S. Census Bureau data was used to estimate the size and general location of populations that are more likely to require transportation assistance including persons with income, those age 65 or older, disabled persons, and households without private vehicles.

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Lynchburg SC Flood Elevation Determination

Under the Silver Jackets Program, the Charleston District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in conjunction with South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) Flood Mitigation Program and South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), estimated the flood elevation of the Lynches River in the Back Swamp Community. A low income community on Back Swamp Rd south of Lynchburg SC is located in a Zone A without BFE due to Lynches River floodplain. These property owners cannot make any modifications to their structures, build or rebuild structures until they have a base flood elevation. The state Flood Mitigation Manager indicated the river has an approximate model in which flood elevations could be determined and used as "best available data" for this community. The information will help reduce risk by the county use in permitting construction to build, modify or rebuild structures in the floodplain. The GIS layer of flood elevations provided to the county, used in conjunction with their property tax information allows the county to better permit construction within the floodplain. Knowledge of the structures within the floodplain and the estimated flood elevation is beneficial to emergency management officials for notification of evacuation and in emergency response.

Seventeen Agencies Stand with Tennessee Silver Jackets

In early September 2015, the Tennessee Silver Jackets Team gathered to sign its team charter.  While many Silver Jackets teams establish their charter with just a handful of federal and state agencies on board, Tennessee’s charter included signatories from six federal agencies, five state agencies, and six local and regional governments. Congratulations to Tennessee; we look forward to seeing your partnerships continue and grow.

TN Post Disaster Guide

The Tennessee Post Disaster Guide will provide emergency management personnel, across the State of Tennessee, with a better understanding of available resources to aid in the recovery process, and will also help prepare counties and communities for future disaster events. In addition, the guide will reduce the need for coordination with the state, and allow entities at all levels of government to work more efficiently and focus their efforts where needed during an emergency. This guide provides information on disaster declarations, permitting requirements, assistance programs offered at the federal and state level, documenting an event and what type of information is needed, and more.

February 2, 2017 - TEMA East (Knoxville)

2017 National FRM Workshop - St. Louis, MO - http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Stories/Article/1130922/tennessee-silver-jackets-team-focuses-on-flood-risk-management/

October 19, 2016 - TVA Chattanooga HQ - Tour Raccoon Mountain - http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Stories/Article/982770/silver-jackets-team-tours-the-raccoon-mountain-pumped-storage-plant/

June 29, 2016 - National Weather Service (Old Hickory) - Tour TN Weather Forecast Center

March 30, 2016 - TEMA West (Jackson)

November 17, 2015 - TEMA (Nashville)

September 16, 2015 - Fleming Training Center, Murfreesboro, TN - Tour City of Murfreesboro Wastewater Treatment Plant

May 20, 2015 - TEMA (Nashville)

January 7, 2015 - TEMA (Nashville)

September 23, 2014 - Metro Nashville Office Building - TN Silver Jackets Charter Signing - http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Stories/Article/500050/tennessee-formalizes-silver-jackets-program-with-charter-signing/

April 9, 2014 - Old Hickory Lock and Dam - Tour Old Hickory Lock, Dam and Powerplant - http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Stories/Article/493648/local-state-federal-agencies-continue-building-tennessee-silver-jackets-partner/

January 9, 2014 - TEMA (Nashville) - Kickoff

Expedited Flood Assessment in the Little Apple

Manhattan, Kansas, also known as “the Little Apple”, has been struggling with a significant flood problem that impacts approximately 250 residential structures located along the Big Blue River and Wildcat Creek.  The city is revising two floodplain management plans to determine how to best address the flooding for areas not provided with a high level of risk reduction from structural measures, such as the Tuttle Creek Dam and the Manhattan Federal Levee.

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Floodplain Leader Course, Kansas and Missouri

In fall of 2016 this project was selected.  The goal is to establish a flood hazard mitigation training course that would ultimately be located at any regional planning council.

The Kansas and Missouri teams both wish to boost understanding of flood mitigation projects by those that do community floodplain administration. The product is, at this time, only a document outlining a course meeting once a week for about a month for floodplain administrators.  Topics like risk analysis, public engagement in risk communication, resilience, climate change and nonstructural measures are possibilities.  Topics that go beyond normal regulatory subject matter.  The course will sharpen skill sets and make floodplain managers into leaders.  Various agencies will be able to provide guest speakers for the flood hazard mitigation topics.  

The Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) is willing to provide an initial home for the course, if enough interest is found from the communities in their area of support.  The development of a curriculum will be based on interagency feedback.  Some regional planning councils already have a government training institute, similar to MARC's, and the intent of this project is to use those as leverage.  The course is suggested to meet over five weeks, every Friday (perhaps) for three or four hours.  The regional planning councils would determine a fee later, as well as do capacity building on a final curriculum and funding.   

The Kansas and Missouri teams are working to boost understanding how floodplain managers can do flood mitigation. The product of this project is intended to be a document outlining a training course.  This course would meet once a week for about a month for about 3 hours.  The intent is for the course to be hosted at existing government training institutes, such as those hosted at some regional planning councils.  Topics like risk analysis, resilience, climate change and nonstructural measures will be presented, and these topics will go beyond normal regulatory topics.  The course will sharpen skill sets and make floodplain managers, leaders.

Floodplain Course poster for USACE Flood Risk Management Conference (pdf, 406 KB)

Multiple Agencies Collaborate on Wildcat Creek, Kansas

A Silver Jackets pilot project on Wildcat Creek in and near the City of Manhattan, Kansas, demonstrates the advantages of leveraging resources and collaborating on a shared vision for a flood risk management solution. Wildcat Creek had severe flooding in 2007, 2010, and again in June 2011. The 2011 event resulted in the evacuation of over 200 people. Future flooding in the 100 square mile watershed is inevitable and could get worse unless mitigation action occurs.

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Flood Forecast Inundation Maps Assist Public in Rossville, Kansas

Building on the success of the interagency Wildcreek pilot, flood forecast inundation maps were produced for Rossville, Kansas. The project takes advantage of state-of-the-art two dimensional modeling results to most effectively describe the flood hazard from Cross Creek upstream of the Kansas River.  Inundation Maps are available online to the public.

Missouri River Flood Inundation Maps Demonstrate Inter-State Cooperation 

Silver Jackets pilot funding brought together the local communities in collaboration with both the State Risk Management Team in Missouri and the Kansas Hazard Mitigation Team. The pilot developed a prototype inundation map for discrete elevation levels to convey flood risks to communities between Parkville, Missouri and Leavenworth, Kansas. In addition to interagency contributions to developing the inundation map, stakeholders from Ponca City, Nebraska to the river's mouth in St. Louis, Missouri, including Silver Jackets teams, state agencies, counties, cities, and levee owners provided input. The map is available from the National Weather Service.

Big Blue and Kansas Rivers' Confluence Actions for Flood Risk Management

This interagency project is improving flood hazard awareness in the Big Blue River Watershed. The project will complete a floodplain management plan (FMP) (pdf, 1.67 MB) for the community for this major river to assist communities in managing flood hazards along the Big Blue River. Concurrent with the Floodplain Management Plan, agencies have developed this flood forecast inundation map through the National Weather Service at the existing gage on the Big Blue River.

A public meeting was held on the nonstructural measures for the property owners, and a breakout session during the meeting used several different diorama models along with newly found flood depths from FEMA map revisions. The owners provided feedback on these measures and which ones they would like to pursue.

Nonstructural Assessment for Kansas' Little Apple

This project to a close look at 50 of the 250 structures with significant flood risks.  The work employeed the USACE National Nonstructural Flood Proofing Committee and their tools.  The project was essentially a first look into applying flood proofing and home elevations.  Products include a first order screening (using the NFPC Matrix), a detailed cost estimate using the NFPC cost estimating software, and an economic analysis.  The final results are being used by the State of Kansas to help inform their application to the U.S. Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) National Disaster Resiliency Competition (NDRC) Phase II.  The information will also be helpful in public meetings with individual property owners, so they can understand the opportunities to reduce their flood risks. 

The Kansas Hazard Mitigation Team submitted an application to the U.S. Housing and Urban Development grant called the National Disaster Resiliency Competition on October 27, 2015.  The work on the Little Apple nonstructural assessment, as well as the Big Blue and the Wildcat Creek projects, noted above.  A link to the State of Kansas application is below:

http://agriculture.ks.gov/divisions-programs/dwr/floodplain/hud-grant

Little Apple poster for USACE Flood Risk Management Conference (pdf, 0.98 MB)

NFPC Inventory of Structure Data, spreadsheet table (xlsx, 53.0 KB)

Emergency Action Plans for Kansas Watershed Joint Districts 

This interagency project provides emergency action plans (EAPs) to conservation districts in Kansas that have made requests to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Kansas, and the Division of Water Resources dam structure program for assistance in completing the plans.  These EAPs serve to reduce risk by providing actions and information to dam operators in the case of an emergency, including calling-trees, warning messages, and evacuation routes.  USACE is providing technical expertise to complete these badly needed EAPs.  The dam operators will be engaged in the process and will implement these plans to help Kansas drive down flood risks.  Be ten and twenty dam sites will receive assistance, and the work is shared between areas of responsibility in USACE's Kansas City District and Tulsa Disctrict. 

EAPs for KS poster for USACE Flood Risk Management Conference (pdf, 529 KB)

Floodplain Managers’ Handbook

The Rhode Island Silver Jackets Team, in coordination with a number of partners, will collaborate with the USACE to develop a comprehensive handbook for Rhode Island floodplain professionals. This document will combine sound floodplain management techniques, federal requirements and state regulations into a single concise resource. The final product will be widely distributed and used as a training tool to enhance floodplain management techniques statewide.

Historical Structure Flood Hazard Vulnerability Assessment

The Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission (HPHC) operates the statewide historical preservation program that identifies over 21,000 historical assets. The Rhode Island Silver Jackets Team will work with HPHC and other stakeholders to convert existing data to a GIS format and complete a flood hazard vulnerability assessment of the historical features statewide. 

Upper Trinity Regional Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan – Phase I (FY 17)

This interagency project includes the North Central Texas Council of Governments and some of their 230 member governments along with USACE.  Currently North Central Texas is the 4th largest region in the U.S. with a population of roughly 7 million. By 2050, the region’s population is expected to double.  This new growth, including highly intensity urbanization, without proper watershed planning, will result in significantly worse flooding conditions and damage costs within the Upper Trinity River Basin.  The emphasis of Phase I of this project is to raise flood risk awareness for local governments using coordination, outreach, education, and workshop activities to establish a collaborative group of stakeholders to share in the development of the watershed management plan that focuses on flood prevention efforts, not mitigation.

San Antonio River Tournament for Integrated Flood Risk Management

This interagency project includes the San Antonio River Authority (SARA), USGS Texas Water Science Center, USACE – Institute of Water Resources (IWR) and USACE – Fort Worth District.  SARA plans to use the multi-hazard tournament methodology to address flood risk in the context of multiple water management objectives.  The integrated framework is important since some flood risk management strategies can also produce other benefits, such as improved water quality and stream restoration.  Decision makers and stakeholders participating in the tournament must work within a constrained budget forcing them to develop cost effective strategies that consider flood risk along with other water resource objectives.  The goal of the tournament is to help educate local government officials and stakeholders about how actions by individuals and local governments can reduce flood risks while providing other water resource benefits and to provide them a vehicle to be more effectively integrated into the planning and policy development process in the San Antonio River Basin.

Interagency Development of a LifeSim Model and Update to the Dallas Floodway Emergency Action Plan

The City of Dallas is in the process of updating the Dallas Floodway (DF) Emergency Action Plan (EAP) for the East and West Levees of the DF System.  In the time since the original EAP was developed in 2010, the USACE – Hydrologic Research Center developed the LifeSim model, which helps determine loss of life under various flooding conditions and can assist communities in preparing emergency evacuation scenarios.  This became critically important to Dallas since during a May 2015 flooding event some of the major evacuation routes outlined in their EAP were cut off by flood waters.  The USACE – Fort Worth District is conducting updated hydrology and hydraulic modeling of the DF System to include the May 2015 flood parameters in addition to preparing the LifeSim model analysis that will assist the City of Dallas in preparing a state of the art updated EAP.

Texas Flood Resiliency Activity Tracker (TxFRAT)

This interagency project includes FEMA Region VI, Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), Texas Water Development Board (TWDB)/Texas Natural Resources Information System (TNRIS), Texas Floodplain Management Association (TFMA), and USACE – Fort Worth, Galveston, Tulsa, and Albuquerque Districts.  Currently in Texas, there are over 50 on-going federal and state flood risk identification, planning, and mitigation projects, which are led by multiple state and federal organizations. In order to provide for a coordinated plan of attack for flood risk projects in Texas, partnering agencies determined that a tool was needed to facilitate planning and communication of on-going projects.  The purpose of the TxFRAT project is to develop a one-stop, web-based mapping system that highlights flood risk identification and mitigation projects throughout the state.

High Water Mark Initiative - City of Richmond, VA

Virginia High Water Marks Initiative Group Photo

Photo Credit: Patrick Bloodgood
Left to Right:  Patrick Bloodgood and Michelle Hamor, USACE, Norfolk District; Mark Slauter, Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM); Jonet Prévost-White, City of Richmond; Mari Radford, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Region III; John Hay, City of Richmond (retired); Matthew Wall, VDEM; Shaun Wicklein and Russ Lotspeich, U.S. Geological Survey and Eric Seymour, National Weather Service, Wakefield, VA Weather Forecast Office.

Virginia High Water Marks Initiative Signs

Photo Credit: Patrick Bloodgood

It seemed very appropriate that a severe weather event would delay a commemoration of another severe weather event.  The dark clouds, heavy with rain, turned morning to dusk and served as a reminder that the threat of weather is as real today as it was yesterday and how we plan for it now determines our resilience tomorrow.

“The water is quick to remind us that there’s no safety in our complacency. No one thinks about flooding until it happens. When they do, it’s too late,” said Jonet Prévost-White, MS4 operations Manager, City of Richmond.

Flooded buildings in Virginia

Photo Credit: Library of Virginia

On the 44th anniversary of the historic flood resulting from precipitation from Hurricane Agnes, the City of Richmond and the Virginia Silver Jackets Team held a ceremony unveiling a high water mark sign in Pony Pasture Rapids Park.  The record of flood at the park stands 13 feet above the parking lot.  The unveiling event, supported through a FY16 Interagency Silver Jackets Project Proposal, was the result of an eight month effort and includes two additional signs installed in Great Shiplock Park and Brown’s Island.  Each location was selected because of high visibility to the public, the opportunity to use public land and the ability to mount signs to existing structures.

Brochure for the Hurricane Agnes and Sign Unveiling Ceremony

Brochure for the Hurricane Agnes and Sign Unveiling Ceremony

“This visible reminder marks the water level at that moment in time and we hope that it reminds us constantly that we need to plan for the future, we need to keep resilience in mind because the water will come again. And we must make sure we work to reduce the risks of flooding in the days ahead,” said Lt. Col. John Drew, the deputy commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District.

Hurricane Agnes was born as a disturbance over the Yucatan Peninsula on June 14, 1972. By the time the storm made landfall in Florida on June 19th, the Category 1 Hurricane was on its way to becoming one of the most devastating storms to strike the United States, spawning tornados and sinking vessels. After landfall, Hurricane Agnes quickly lost steam and was downgraded to a tropical storm and then to a tropical depression. The degraded storm was heavy laden with moisture and continued to soak the already waterlogged east coast with heavy rains up to 19 inches.  Agnes serves as a reminder that devastating storms can occur at any time and it does not take a major hurricane to cause significant damage.  Agnes was considered a tropical storm as it passed Virginia and impacted more than 60 counties and 23 cities for an estimated $222 million in damages.  By the time Agnes fell apart over Pennsylvania, the storm caused flooding and damage from Florida to New York for a total estimated loss of over $2 billion (1972 dollars) making it the costliest storm at the time.

The Virginia Silver Jackets Team is researching opportunities to collaborate on additional high water mark signs and inundation mapping.

“Signage is simple and easy. If one sign can save a life, it’s worth the effort,” said John Buturla, the deputy chief administrative officer for the city of Richmond.

Study of Impacts of Fire on Runoff in the State of Washington

After suffering through a disaster caused by the devastating July 2015 Blue Creek fire that burned 10% or 6,500 acres of a parent watershed, questions arose from the federal, state, and local emergency managers.  What impact did this massive fire have on the increased runoff and sediment flow?  How could it impact the thousands of residents downstream?

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2013 Interagency Pilot Project Completed

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Institute for Water Resources awarded pilot project funding to the Washington Silver Jackets team in July 2013 to advance a new integrated approach to flood risk management and habitat restoration planning in the Puget Sound region of Washington.  Integrating Flood Risk Management and Salmon Habitat Restoration Priorities in the Puget Sound: An Early Opportunities Analysis (Early Opps) expands on work The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Puget Sound Partnership (PSP), and Washington Department of Ecology (ECY) initiated in 2012 through the Floodplains by Design Program (FbD). Two scoring systems – one for flood risk management and one for salmon habitat restoration – were created and combined to rank Puget Sound floodplain “fragments”. The methodology is not intended to identify “good” or “bad” habitat. Similarly, it also should not be used to classify flood risk alone. Rather, this is a classification exercise developed to target floodplain areas with greatest opportunity for improvement. Fragments that have the greatest potential for both a reduction in flood risk and an improvement to habitat score highly.  In basins where local jurisdictions have to make tough choices of how to best use diminishing floodplain dollars, it is the hope of this study team that the analysis, ranking, and mapping done here can be another tool to support decision makers as they prioritize floodplain improvement demands. Check out the Technical Methodology Report (pdf, 3.65 MB) for more details on the study.

 

Preparing D.C. for the Next Major Flood

Without the proper implementation of a flood emergency plan, flood risk in the District of Columbia is high. There are numerous agencies that have roles and responsibilities during a flood, and they all must be fully prepared to respond in order to reduce the risk of flooding to residents and the critical downtown infrastructure.  The District of Columbia’s interagency flood-fighting team, the Silver Jackets, completed a tabletop exercise on November 3, 2015, to test the effectiveness of its Flood Emergency Manual. This manual is undergoing revisions and details how federal, District, and public agencies will respond to flood emergencies in the region including emergency closures that are part of the Potomac Park levee system.

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Potomac River Flood-fighting Exercise

The District of Columbia's Flood Emergency Manual (FEM), dated March 2006, provides plans for Federal, District, and public agencies to respond to flood emergencies in the District, including emergency closures and the operation of the existing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Flood Risk Management projects to include the Potomac Park Levee 17th Street closure structure. Without the proper implementation of a flood emergency plan, flood risk in the District is high. There are numerous agencies that have roles and responsibilities during a flood, and they all must be fully prepared to respond. Therefore, members of the District's Silver Jackets team are currently updating the FEM. The team will test the effectiveness of the plan through a flood-fighting tabletop exercise. The exercise will be a one-day event where representatives from all necessary agencies walk through a planned-storm scenario and determine what actions they would take. Afterwards, the team will regroup to address any changes that may need to be made to the draft FEM. This exercise will ensure better effectiveness of the FEM and will help the affected agencies to be better prepared for future flood events. The updated FEM will also feed into a later project to develop a city-wide flood emergency plan.

Washington D.C. and Vicinity Local Flood Risk Management Project

The Silver Jackets team prioritized ensuring the coordination and completion of the “17th Street closure” in Washington, DC. The 17th Street closure structure is situated between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, and it reduces risk to human safety and critical infrastructure in downtown District of Columbia from flooding of the Potomac River. It was constructed and is regulated by the Corps of Engineers, and is operated and maintained by the National Park Service.  The 17th Street closure is a removable structure that can be erected in the event of high water to attach to the floodwalls on both sides of 17th Street and consists of aluminum panels between steel posts. Stone cladding application on the 17th Street floodwall was designed to blend in with the historic landscape of the National Mall. The closure is part of the Potomac Park Levee System and the Washington, D.C. and Vicinity Local Flood Protection Project.  The team is also looking into similar permanent closures at 23rd Street, 2nd and P streets; and raising the Potomac Park Levee 3.5 feet to increase the level of protection to the authorized flow rate.

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New Online Mapping Tools Show Predicted Flooding Along Potomac and Anacostia Rivers

The Washington, DC, Silver Jackets Team developed an online flood inundation mapping tool project that will help government leaders, emergency managers, and the public better predict flood impacts during high-water events in the D.C. metropolitan area. This tool provides two sets of maps: one that shows predicted riverine flooding along the Potomac River; and another that shows predicted tidal/storm surge flooding along the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. The tool is housed on the NWS website. 

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D.C. Flood Emergency Manual Update

The Washington, DC, Silver Jackets Team is working on updating the D.C. Flood Emergency Manual and held a tabletop exercise in November 2015 to test the current manual.

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Federal Triangle Flood Mitigation

The Washington, DC, Silver Jackets Team evaluates ways to reduce flood risk in the “Federal Triangle” section of the city through continuous collaboration, identification and quantification of flood risk, providing assistance in implementing projects, and improving outreach on flood risk.

2016 DC Flood Summit

More than 150 experts gathered to discuss flooding in our nation’s capital at Gallaudet University, Sept. 8, 2016, marking the first flood summit of its kind in Washington. The summit, which was organized by the DC Silver Jackets, occurred the week of the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Fran that engulfed Washington in 1996. 

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Watts Branch Flood Risk Management Study

The District of Columbia Silver Jackets received funding for fiscal 2017 to conduct a 1.5-year flood risk mitigation study for neighborhoods along Watts Branch, which is a tributary of the Anacostia River, in the northeast corner of the District of Columbia. These neighborhoods are in a special flood-hazard area (within the 100-year floodplain) and consist of high-density residential and non-residential structures and critical infrastructure with vulnerable populations, including a public housing development. These high-risk flood zone areas will likely expand even further considering the effects of climate change. 

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Rock River Flood Inundation Mapping Project

With a total drainage area of 3,474 square miles, the Rock River has flooded extensively numerous times over the years. Many of the flooding events occurred between 1982 and 2010. In the past twenty-five years, flooding on the Rock River has resulted in eight Federal Disaster Declarations. Historic flooding in 2008 caused the Rock River to hit “major” flood stage three separate times in that year alone. The Rock River Flood Inundation Mapping project is being implemented through a partnership among the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Emergency Management, USGS, National Weather Service, and the Corps of Engineers. By combining USGS stream gage data with hydraulic modeling and digital elevation data, a library of flood boundaries can be assembled for a series of incremental flood stages and overlaid on digital orthophotographs of pertinent areas to visualize areas of potential flooding. The project covers five reaches of the Rock River located in Jefferson, Dodge, and Rock Counties, WI. These five reaches encompass approximately 31.8 river miles. The flood inundation maps are critical to flood emergency management planning and implementation; conveying flood risk to the public as the National Weather Service forecasts can be mapped and visualized for areas expected to flood well in advance of occurrence; and many other flood risk reduction and floodplain management initiatives and actions. The project is expected to be completed by late summer 2015. The maps will be published on both the USGS and NWS websites.

Columbia County Floodplain Structure Inventory and Flood Reduction Strategy

Numerous flooding events have occurred in Columbia County, Wisconsin. Since 1982 the County has experienced 36 flooding events, including five that resulted in the County being included Federal Disaster Declarations. In 2010, the Wisconsin River at Portage set a new record crest of 20.66 feet on September 28, or 3.66 feet over flood stage. This project consists of completing a structure inventory of properties located along and near the Wisconsin River in Columbia County that are prone to flooding. There are 2,962 parcels located in the 100-year floodplain. Of the total parcels 1,198 have at least one improvement on them (residential, commercial, or farm related). The information will allow the county to improve protective measures and evacuation options during flooding. The project will also assist both officials and property owners in high-risk areas to identify feasible, cost-effective mitigation measures, thus lowering future response, repair, and recovery costs paid by victims, their families, taxpayers, and FEMA. The project is being accomplished through the effort of the USACE with input from other stakeholders including Wisconsin Emergency Management, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Columbia County, and local officials.