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Washington Silver Jackets

The Washington Silver Jackets team formed in 2010 as a conglomerate of Federal and State agencies working together to address state flood risk priorities. The current makeup and operation of the team, however, has only been intact since late 2014. USACE Seattle District facilitates coordination within the group. Individuals from FEMA, NOAA, and USGS complete the Federal roster, while flood risk management experts from Department of Ecology (ECY), Emergency Management Division (EMD), and Department of Transportation (DOT) represent the lead state agencies. ECY and EMD are critical participants, as those agencies house the state's NFIP Coordinator and Hazard Mitigation Officer, respectively.

The Washington team meets virtually about once per month, in addition to an annual face-to-face half-day workshop. It has been awarded three interagency projects over the last three years. "Integrating Flood Risk Management and Salmon Habitat Restoration Priorities in the Puget Sound: An Early Opportunities Analysis" was completed in June 2014. The sequel to that project, which breaks the down the analysis into smaller river basins and associates potential actions with funding prospects, is expected to be completed in spring 2016. The third project, "Washington Implementation of the Rapid Assessment Flood Tool (RAFT)", is a collaborative flood forecasting effort expected to reach completion by fall 2016. Each project, as well as the routine coordination and communication between Silver Jackets agencies, is intended to address state needs and ultimately improve flood risk management throughout the full flood life cycle.

Team Activities

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.