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Utah Silver Jackets / Utah State Hazard Mitigation Team

The vision of Utah Silver Jackets team is to serve as a catalyst in developing comprehensive and sustainable solutions to flood hazard issues, including mitigation planning, flood hazard mapping, risk reduction activities, and response and recovery planning.

State and Federal agencies will work together to:

  • Increase and improve flood hazard identification, assessment, communication and outreach among Local, State and Federal agencies
  • Foster leveraging of available agency resources
  • Develop more comprehensive State flood risk management polices and strategies
  • Promote wise stewardship of the taxpayers' investments
  • Provide technical services and planning guidance that is needed to support effective flood plain management

Team Activities

Current (FY19) Projects:

  • City of Saratoga Springs Alluvial Fan Hazard Mapping
  • Utah Flood Risk Education
  • Zion National Park Flood Warning System Report
  • Tribal Floodplain Management and Emergency Response Workshops

Ephraim Flood Plain Management Services

The City of Ephraim, Utah has experienced significant growth since the FEMA flood maps were last updated. This growth has physically transformed Ephraim on multiple levels, including changes to the flood channels and waterways through the city. The FEMA flood maps currently in effect for Ephraim are based on old paper maps from the 1980s and earlier and are missing critical information to support decision on where growth can safely occur. The City of Ephraim plans to use the study as a basis for the city's Master Plan for storm drainage and flooding facilities. The City of Ephraim is an economically disadvantaged community and had previously approached both FEMA and the State of Utah for NFIP mapping assistance, but neither was able to offer assistance due to limited funding and relatively small population of Ephraim.

Ephraim City Hall in Ephraim, Utah
(From Left to Right: Bryan Kimball P.E., MPA, AICP, Community Development Director/City Engineer, Sean McNabb, Risk MAP- Program Specialist, Rachael Orellana, Flood Risk Program Manager, Jamie Huff, Risk MAP Program Manager, Barb Fitzpatrick, Senior Floodplain Specialist, Region VIII, Kathy Holder, Utah Floodplain Coordinator)

Utah Geological Survey Wasatch

The Geologic Hazards Program of the Utah Geological Survey (UGS) helps protect Utah's public health and safety by investigating geologic hazards and environmental concerns involving geology; provides state and local governments and the public with information and technical services; develops small- and large-scale geologic hazard maps; and performs detailed studies of geologic hazards.

Many areas within the Wasatch Front and Cache Valley, Utah are experiencing rapid growth extending into areas at increased risk for multiple geologic hazards. Flood risk in Utah communities has historically been one of the most damaging geologic hazards. The most serious floods in Utah have generally occurred in the Great Salt Lake Basin, particularly in the Weber River drainage on the western slopes of the Wasatch Mountains. During the past 100 years, approximately 300 flash floods resulting from high­ intensity rainfall that accompanied thunderstorms and 135 snowmelt floods have been recorded (Utah Division of Homeland Security, 2011). Numerous debris flows have also impacted communities along the Wasatch Front. This area includes the highest population density in the state, where the combined population along the Wasatch Front and Cache County is approximately 1.9 million (US Census Bureau, 2010).

In 2014, UGS sought technical assistance from USACE to expand mapping of flooding risk using a geologically-based approach at a scale of 1:24,000 to help improve effectiveness and efficiency in identifying flooding risk. These maps showed the mapped Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood zones, along with geologically-based flood hazard zones that account for young geologic materials, such as alluvial fans, that are subject to potential debris flows and sheet flooding. These flood maps are intended to supplement the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) to provide local governments and the public with additional flooding hazard information so they may make informed decisions, ultimately reducing the risk to life and property to flooding hazards.

UGS and USACE are entering into a new phase of the study in which a web viewer will be developed to ensure wide distribution of the maps. Additional public outreach is being conducted in this phase as well.

Cache County RISK Map meeting March 2016
(Rachael Orellana- Flood Risk Program Manager, Jessica Castleton- Geologist, Ben Erickson- UGS Hazard Mapper at Cache County RISK Map meeting March 2016)

Grand County Floodplain Management Plan

Grand County only recently joined the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Grand County is becoming one of the Nation's top destinations for tourism. Only 4% of the property in Grand County is privately owned land. This is placing tremendous pressure on Grand County to allow development in floodplains.

Utah Silver Jackets is currently helping Grand County, Utah, to develop a Floodplain Management Plan (FMP) to build a stronger, safer, and more flood resilient community. This FMP will reduce future risk of flooding to people living in or traveling around the Grand County Floodplain, inform local officials of flood risk management practices, and increase resiliency within the community in terms of decreasing future disaster expenditures and providing the community an understanding of where and how to build.

Grand County
(Photo Courtesy of BLM)

Non-Structural Workshops (2015)

The Utah Division of Emergency Management (DEM) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers partnered to conduct three flood risk management workshops. These workshops covered nonstructural flood proofing techniques, also known as flood risk adaptive measures. The USACE Nonstructural Flood Proofing Committee developed and led the workshops. Continuing education credits were available for attendees.

These workshops were held in the cities of Salt Lake City, Logan, and St. George. Each of the sessions covered nonstructural techniques, federal grant programs like the Natural Resource Conservation Service's Emergency Watershed Protection program, USACE civil works authorities, and structural inventories. Participants discussed what techniques have been used in their communities and asked how their agencies can partner with USACE.

US Army Corps of Engineers National Nonstructural/Flood Proofing Committee logo

Upcoming Meetings

  • Utah All Hazards State Mitigation Team Meeting - Thursday, May 31, 2018, 10am


For More Information Contact

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Sacramento District, Email, 916-557-7009

Utah Division of Emergency Management

Utah State Risk MAP Program Manager, Email, 801-538-3752

Utah State Floodplain Manager, Email, 801-538-3332

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