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Wisconsin Silver Jackets

The Wisconsin Hazard Mitigation Team (WHMT,) coordinated through Wisconsin Emergency Management, is a long-standing team that works together to implement the State’s mitigation strategy as identified in the Wisconsin Hazard Mitigation Plan to reduce future damages, protect life and property, and make the State more resilient. An Interagency Disaster Recovery Group (IDRG) of federal and state agencies was formed in response to the 1993 Midwest Floods to coordinate recovery and mitigation efforts, and continued to meet in response to subsequent disasters. The State Hazard Mitigation Team (SHMT) was formed in 2000 consisting of many of the same members of the IDRG. In 2003 the IDRG and SHMT were joined to form the present WHMT. The WHMT consists of 50 members representing federal, state, and local agencies; non-governmental organizations; and several associations. The WHMT participates and contributes to updating and maintaining the enhanced Wisconsin Hazard Mitigation Plan; prioritizing mitigation projects throughout the state; and providing technical assistance to local governments in implementing mitigation projects and maintaining local mitigation plans.

The WHMT existed prior to the inception of Silver Jackets and has many of the same objectives and participants. For example, the Army Corps’ District Silver Jackets Coordinator participates on the WHMT. The Charter’s vision is to “create, maintain, and integrate comprehensive partnerships to reduce risk associated with hazards in the State of Wisconsin.”

Team Activities

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.

For More Information Contact

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), St. Paul District, Email, 651-290-5714

Participating Agencies

Federal

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • National Weather Service
  • US Army Corps of Engineers
  • US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • US Department of Agriculture, Rural Development
  • US Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • US Economic Development Administration
  • US Geological Survey

State

  • Department of Administration, Division of Housing
  • Department of Administration, Division Intergovernmental Relations, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program
  • Department of Administration, Division Intergovernmental Relations, Comprehensive Planning
  • Department of Administration, Division of State Facilities
  • Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
  • Department of Health Services
  • Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water
  • Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry
  • Department of Natural Resources, Division of Enforcement and Science
  • Department of Safety and Professional Services, Division of Safety and Buildings
  • Department of Transportation
  • Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
  • Wisconsin Emergency Management
  • Wisconsin Historical Society
  • Wisconsin Office of Commissioner of Insurance
  • Wisconsin Public Service Commission
  • University of Wisconsin – Cooperative Extension Office

Other

  • Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission
  • Rural Electric Cooperative Network
  • Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster
  • Wisconsin Association of Floodplain, Stormwater, and Coastal Management
  • Wisconsin Emergency Management Association