FEMA and EPA have partnered on several pilot project efforts promoting integration of green infrastructure and low impact development (GI/LID) strategies into Natural Hazard Mitigation Plans (NHMPs) to reduce natural hazards risk. On December 12, Josh Bruce (University of Oregon) and Krista Mendelman (Environmental Protection Agency) gave a Silver Jackets webinar presentation about the City of Ashland, Oregon NHMP Pilot Project. The Oregon Partnership for Disaster Resilience at the University of Oregon used its energy, expertise and innovation to work with the community and other partners to update the existing NHMP. Steps included review of ordinances and the existing NHMP actions, and completing GIS assessments and ecosystem service evaluations to identify opportunities to integrate GI/LID mitigation actions. The presentation discussed these steps, reviewed GI/LID recommendations, and shared lessons learned from the process.
The presenters included:
- Krista Mendelman, Environmental Protection Agency
- Josh Bruce, Oregon Partnership for Disaster Resilience, University of Oregon
The presentation, recorded session, and transcript are available.
Date: December 12, 2018
On November 27, a Silver Jackets webinar was held to discuss the recent levee tabletop exercise in Huntington, WV. A mock flood exercise among agencies and partners was conducted. The tabletop exercise brought together agencies directly associated with operating and maintaining the levee systems, as well as agencies involved in coming together to communicate and disseminate flood warning and potential evacuation instructions during an event. The target audience was the levee owners/operators, local EMA, County EMA, WV Department of Homeland Security, USACE Levee Safety Group, West Virginia Silver Jackets, and others deemed necessary. Stakeholders left the exercise with a better knowledge of emergency actions to take and the proper chain to contact before, during, and after a flood event. The webinar outlined the important benefits and the how-to of an After Action Report.
The presenters included:
- Ashley Stephens, USACE Huntington District - Silver Jackets Coordinator and Planner
- Kevin Butler, USACE Huntington District - Levee Safety Program Manager
- Charles Goad, USACE Huntington District
- Greg Fuller, WV Department of Homeland Security - Region 6 Area Liaison
- Jerry Beckett, Cabell County Emergency Management - Emergency Planner
The presentation, recorded session, and transcript are available.
Date: November 27, 2018
The October 22 Silver Jackets webinar addressed the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD's role in disaster response and recovery. HUD's overall mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities, and quality affordable homes for all. HUD administers multiple programs and grants that Silver Jackets teams can use to help fund flood mitigation projects, including HUD Regional Planning and Community Challenge; Strong Cities, Strong Communities; Choice Neighborhood Planning and Implementation grants; and Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). These grants are often leveraged by states and cities as federal matching dollars for FEMA, USACE, and USGS projects.
For many years, HUD has been an important federal partner during flood recovery in providing funding that comes available through Congress to support unmet needs. Today Mr. Dana Bres, a senior advisor within HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research at HQ, and his team focus on HUD's role in disaster response as well as on long-term community recovery, typically supported through the Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program.
The CDBG-DR program provides not only funding but it also provides support for state and local communities through local planning. This presentation identifies information sources local Silver Jackets teams can use to understand and engage in the local planning processes for HUD assisted recovery efforts.
The presentation, recorded session and audio transcript are available.
Date: October 22, 2018
On September 13, 2018, Kristin Ransom presented a Silver Jackets webinar entitled: Digital Coast—More than Data.
Future flood reduction challenges are not static especially with the uncertainty around climate change and rising sea levels for coastal areas in particular.
The vast majority of property at risk in floodplains is along the coast: Houston, New Orleans, the Gulf, Miami, and up the eastern seaboard. These coastlines are densely developed. If the sea level rises 3-6 feet in the next 100 years, that is a game-changer for our ability to map future flood risk.
The Digital Coast website provides some of the necessary tools to help identify these risks. Data sets range from economic data to satellite imagery. The site contains visualization tools, predictive tools, and tools that make data easier to find and use.
Kristin Ransom is a Coastal Management Specialist with The Baldwin Group at the NOAA Office for Coastal Management and sits in their Gulf Coast Office. She works as a site liaison with the Coastal Zone Management Programs in the Gulf of Mexico and supports the National Estuarine Research Reserve System’s Coastal Training Programs. In her role at the Office for Coastal Management, Kristin works on a wide range of issues including coastal resilience, coastal planning, and public beach access.
The presentation, the recorded session and a transcript are available.
Date: September 13, 2018
The August 23rd Silver Jackets webinar focused on the California team’s work to create a database of community mitigation plans to assist agencies in addressing statewide mitigation needs in an expeditious manner.
There are hundreds and hundreds of local hazard mitigation plans (LHMPs) that have been developed for each state since the Federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000. For the states and the state teams, it has been a challenge to keep track of what has been done, what is proposed, and what should be addressed. The California team has taken up the challenge of creating a management tool by developing a regional summary of local hazard mitigation plans to help steer an organized mitigation response.
By consolidating information from the LHMPs into one database, planners and other interested personnel can easily sort through projects based on various criteria, including hazard types, agency regions, and project types. The regional summaries tool will assist agencies in quickly identifying potential projects that meet their criteria and support ongoing coordination across agencies to help communities in reducing risks.
The presenters included:
- Rachael Orellana, Sacramento District Flood Risk Program Manager and Silver Jackets USACE Lead for California,
- Melissa Weymiller, Sacramento District Flood Risk Project Manager, and
- Patricia Fontanet, Sacramento District Flood Risk Community Planner.
A copy of the presentation (pdf, 2.01 MB) as well as the recording (mp3, 8.49 MB) are available.
Date: August 23, 2018
In May 2010, the Middle Tennessee region endured a record flood event that resulted in billions of dollars in damages and multiple fatalities. In the years following the flood, federal agencies worked closely with Nashville to develop hydrologic and hydraulic (H&H) modeling and flood risk management products such as updated Flood Insurance Study modeling and mapping, guides, GIS web viewers that correlate flood depths/timing to forecasted precipitation, and the installation of headwater stream gages.
Over the past year, the culmination of all this effort has resulted in a detailed real-time flood forecasting system using the Hydrologic Engineering Center's Real-Time Simulation (HEC-RTS) software. HEC-RTS leverages the suite of HEC software packages including the Hydrologic Modeling System and River Analysis System in a common environment to simulate, in real-time, the rainfall-runoff response from the watershed and flow hydraulics through the reach network of the watershed.
This presentation describes: the history behind why and how the HEC-RTS modeling was developed; unique aspects of the model; and how the model brings together the needs and capabilities of federal agencies and local communities.
Mr. Brantley Thames was the presenter. He has worked with the US Army Corps of Engineers in Nashville, TN for 17 years and serves as the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division Regional Technical Specialist in Flood Risk Management.
Over his career, Brantley has been mostly focused on using H&H modeling and mapping to update flood insurance products and to develop flood risk management alternatives for local communities. Recently, Brantley has become more involved with real-time flood forecasting model development to support local communities and the National Weather Service.
The presentation (pdf, 6.98 MB) and recorded session (mp3, 10.0 MB) are available.
Date: July 17, 2018
The June 28, 2018 Silver Jackets informational webinar presentation was given by Sarah McGarvey, Senior Mitigation Specialist with FEMA about the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) - Post Fire.
On June 5, 2018, FEMA announced availability of funds under the HMGP Post Fire for states, territories, and federally-recognized tribes that had a Fire Management Assistance declaration in FY 2017 and 2018. Eligible states with declarations are located in FEMA Regions IV, VI, VII, VIII, IX and X in the following 20 states - AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, KS, KY, MT, NC, NM, NV, OK, OR, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WA, and WY. Funding can be used to implement hazard mitigation measures in communities after wildfire disasters including hazards such as flood or erosion.
The Silver Jackets webinar presentation was offered to active Silver Jacket teams for those states with Fire Management Assistance declarations. Silver Jackets teams may be a useful resource for the State when identifying effective mitigation projects through their collective expertise and knowledge about wildfire impacts and mitigation needs.
More information about the program can be found here: https://www.fema.gov/hazard-mitigation-grant-program-post-fire.
The presentation (pdf, 3.93 MB) and recorded session (mp3, 6.46 MB) are available.
Date: June 28, 2018
On June 20, members of the Alaska (AK) and New Hampshire (NH) Silver Jackets Teams presented a one-hour Silver Jackets webinar entitled: State Flood Hazards Geodatabase. Crane Johnson from the National Weather Service gave a presentation on the Alaska Flood Events Database. Shane Csiki and Tom Taggart from the NH Department of Environmental Services and Whitney Welch from the NH Department of Safety presented on the New Hampshire Flood Hazards Geodatabase.
The Alaska Silver Jackets Team developed a statewide historical flood hazard database that was showcased in the Winter 2018 Buzz newsletter. The NOAA Alaska Pacific River Forecast Center (APRFC) at the National Weather Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) worked with a contractor to catalog and spatially connect historical flood events to the State of Alaska Division of Regional and Community Affairs list of Native Villages and Communities. The effort initially included researching Hazard Mitigation Plans, State and Federal Disaster Declarations, the USACE Cold Regions Ice Jam Database, and the APRFC River Notes.
Independently, the NH Hampshire Geological Survey at the NH Department of Environmental Services, in collaboration with the NH Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, have recently engaged in the completion of a similar effort to develop a statewide flood hazards geodatabase, using local town information.
In February 2018, the AK team and NH officials discussed their respective efforts together in a teleconference. Based on differing needs, each state took a unique approach to inventory and document historic flood events.
The recorded session (mp3, 8.96 MB) along with the Alaska (pdf, 2.18 MB) and New Hampshire (pdf, 1.84 MB) presentations are available.
Date: June 20, 2018
The May 16, 2018 Silver Jackets Webinar presentation was given by Robert Hirsch, Research Hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey.
Effective flood mitigation requires sound information about the risks, for example how high are stream flows and how often one can expect floods to occur on any given river. Flood risk information depends on long-term streamflow data, detailed geographic information about watersheds and floodplains, and statistical analyses of these data. Historically, the assumption has generally been that the relationship of frequency and magnitude never changes over time.
Today the hydrologic science community and citizens in general recognize that there are reasons that changes could be taking place, driven by factors such as changes in land use, engineering works, and in climate. An important part of planning for the future is knowing what changes have happened in the past and trying to learn about the drivers of those changes. Robert Hirsch shared research completed by the USGS to understand these changes.
The presentation (pdf, 2.61 MB) and recorded session (mp3, 9.32 MB) are available.
Date: May 16, 2018
The April 25, 2018 Silver Jackets webinar was about 'Guidance for Emergency Action Plans, Incident Management and Reporting, and Inundation Maps for Dams and Levee Systems.'
Bruce Rogers, the Dam and Levee Safety Program Manager for Philadelphia District gave a presentation on the changes to the Emergency Action Plan (EAP) guidance.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recently published EC 1110-2-6074, "Guidance for Emergency Action Plans, Incident Management and Reporting, and Inundation Maps for Dams and Levee Systems" available for download at http://www.publications.usace.army.mil/USACE-Publications/Engineer-Circulars.
The new guidance is applicable to all dams and levees operated and maintained by USACE. EAPs play a vital role in the comprehensive risk management strategy for our dam and levee projects. The policy intent is to achieve consistency of EAPs across the USACE portfolio of dam and levee projects. This level of consistency is beneficial to the USACE capability to provide efficient inter-district support during emergency operations.
USACE seeks feedback and suggestions from the webinar audience and during the next two years to further improve the emergency preparedness guidance.
Comments can be submitted to HQ-EAP@usace.army.mil.
A copy of the presentation (pdf, 5.89 MB) is available.
Date: April 25, 2018
On April 17th, a one-hour Silver Jackets webinar entitled Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities - Flood Resilience for Riverine and Coastal Communities was held. The presenters were Michelle Madeley from the EPA and Allison Hardin from Myrtle Beach. Michelle is a Presidential Management Fellow with the EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities and Allison is with the Planning Department in the City of Myrtle Beach and the lead for her community's Building Blocks Workshop in 2017.
EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities provides planning assistance to communities interested in becoming more prepared and resilient to flooding. Through the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities technical assistance approach, EPA has partnered with 10 communities across the country to help them address their flood resilience challenges, using a workshop model that brings together community members and stakeholders to develop a vision for their community and an action plan to support achieving that vision.
This webinar provided an overview of the Building Blocks workshop process, described how EPA and other federal and state partners work hand-in-hand with communities, and included case studies from two communities. Silver Jackets teams were exposed to possible opportunities for collaboration and a unique avenue to support communities.
Copies of Michelle's and Allison’s presentations (pdf, 7.26 MB) are available along with the recorded session (mp3, 9.53 MB).
Date: April 17, 2018
On March 22, 2018, a Silver Jackets webinar was held on Forecasting Ice Jams and Mitigating Damages.
This year as in previous years, ice jams, especially in the northern climates, can cause serious flooding and havoc for a community. Understanding the processes that lead to ice jam flooding is one of the missions of engineers at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (otherwise known as CRREL), which is located in Hanover, New Hampshire. CRREL is a part of the Engineer Research and Development Center of the USACE.
The Ice Engineering Group at CRREL works to understand how ice jams form; predict their occurrence; develop mitigation techniques; and help federal, state, and local agencies respond to flooding.
Joe Rocks from CRREL provided an overview of the causes and impacts of river ice jams and described methods available to mitigate damages during this webinar. He shared the latest research efforts on ice jams from the Center and stepped us through current mitigation projects intended to lessen the impacts of ice jams. Joe is a research civil engineer and a CRREL lead for the Ice Jam Database and the lead on several interagency projects.
The session was recorded (mp3, 11.0 MB) and the presentation slides are available (pdf, 7.17 MB).
Date: March 22, 2018
The Feb 7, 2018 Silver Jackets Webinar presentation was given by Peter MCarthy, National StreamStats Coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey at the Wyoming-Montana Water Science Center.
StreamStats, Version 4 is a map-based web application that provides an assortment of analytical tools that are useful for water-resources planning and management, and engineering purposes. Developed by the US Geological Survey, or USGS, the primary purpose of StreamStats is to provide estimates of stream flow statistics for user-selected, ungaged sites on streams and for USGS stream gages. This application can be a valuable tool in support of efforts to understand and manage flood risk.
The presentation (pdf, 3.52 MB) is available as well as the recorded session (mp3, 8.85 MB).
Date: February 7, 2018
On January 16, 2018, a Silver Jackets webinar was held that addressed the Emergency Management Accreditation Program, otherwise known as EMAP. EMAP is an independent, nonprofit organization that fosters excellence and accountability in emergency management and homeland security programs by establishing credible standards applied in a peer review accreditation process. EMAP addresses Emergency Management Standards in five mission areas: preparedness, mitigation, prevention, response, and recovery. In order to acquire the EMAP accreditation, emergency management programs must collaborate with stakeholders to document processes, plans, and procedures for each standard.
Silver Jackets teams provide local, state, and federal agencies with subject matter flood risk management expertise, which can support documentation of processes, plans, and procedures for hazard mitigation and prevention for a variety of governmental agencies interested in the EMAP accreditation.
To tell us more about this program and the important role we can play, we heard from Lindsey Shafer and Scott Gauvin. Lindsey is the EMAP Training Coordinator. She provides training on the two Standards developed, maintained, and applied by EMAP – the Emergency Management Standard and the Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) Standard. Lindsey also serves as the EMAP Staff Liaison for colleges and universities interested in pursuing the EMAP Accreditation. Prior to working at EMAP, she served as the Training & Exercise Coordinator and Accreditation Manager for Virginia Tech.
Scott Gauvin is the EMAP Federal Projects Specialist. Scott serves as the EMAP Staff Liaison for federal agencies interested in pursuing the EMAP Accreditation including the Corps of Engineers. Prior to working at EMAP, he served as the Emergency Operations Center Manager for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
The presentation (pdf, 1.09 MB | pdf with notes, 2.29 MB) is available as well as the audio recording (mp3, 13.0 MB) of the webinar.
Date: January 16, 2018