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Watts Branch

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. A flood in an area with vulnerable populations can have a devastating impact on the residents and community, including the loss of jobs and displaced residents.

This study will help the District of Columbia achieve flood-risk reduction goals within their All-Hazard Mitigation Plan. The draft DC Climate Change Adaptation Plan also identified Watts Branch as one of four priority areas within the District to be addressed.

The Silver Jackets will assess existing flood risks and future flood risks due to climate change; develop an inventory of the estimated 700 buildings within the 500-year floodplain; update floodplain maps that will allow the community and local organizations to better understand their flood risk; identify individual and watershed-wide flood risk management strategies and neighborhood climate-resilience policies and strategies; and participate in outreach activities to raise awareness of flood risk and promote risk-reduction actions.

Partner agencies include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; DC Office of Planning and DC Water; DC Department of Energy and Environment; Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs; DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency; Environmental Protection Agency; National Weather Service; Federal Emergency Management Agency; U.S. Geological Survey; and Georgetown University.

 

(Watts Branch Flood Risk Management Study Area)