The Nebraska Silver Jackets team was recognized for its collaborative approach during the 2019 Missouri River basin floods, the largest federally declared disaster in the state’s history. The Team assisted with response and recovery, engaging at the Joint Field Office and collecting highwater mark data. To collect data over a significant geographic area, the Team coordinated with local communities to enter data using an online portal, with the U.S. Geological Survey then surveying the data points.
The Team successfully coordinated and transitioned into recovery, hosting three virtual post-flood workshops for communities about post-flood activities, grant opportunities, and agency resources to support recovery.
Additionally, the Team collaborated to produce products to document the changed post-flood hydrologic and hydraulic environment, incorporating recent 2019 flood data to update numerous models and analyses. The team also participated on the Governor’s Task Force, evaluating local community applications for recovery funding, prioritizing projects, and also identifying other relevant funding sources, which maximized resources available to assist local communities.
The Puerto Rico Silver Jackets formally became a team in May 2019. The Team has focused on enhancing community resilience and recovery from natural disasters, which at the time of its formation included the devasting impacts of Hurricane Maria (September 2017). A broad and diverse group of partners actively participate, including commonwealth government agencies, academia, non-governmental organizations, and Federal partners.
The Team focuses on riverine and coastal flooding issues, and is directly supporting the State Hazard Mitigation Office with implementation of the new hazard mitigation plans. Specific interagency collaborative efforts include an animated floodplain managers education and outreach video in English and Spanish, and a high water mark project, using Hurricane Maria historical high water mark data, for the municipality of Toa Baja.
The team has demonstrated its ability to build relationships to become a productive and effective team amidst the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria. Its continued commitment and capacity to adapt and accomplish the team’s mission and priorities are evident despite earthquakes and COVID-19 adding to hurricane recovery challenges.
The Maryland Silver Jackets team has focused on providing community outreach and support, updating flood modeling and mapping, and empowering local communities. Several outreach efforts have been undertaken, including nonstructural floodproofing workshops and levee risk communication public meetings. These workshops and meetings have helped local communities better understand their flood risk and how to address it on their own and with partners at other levels of government.
The Maryland Silver Jackets team has also provided significant assistance to the town of Ellicott City, which has experienced several devastating flash floods in the last few years. Recognizing the state’s need for more “real time” flood inundation maps in watersheds without stream gages, the team has worked collaboratively to pilot a mapping tool aimed at creating inundation maps using the National Weather Service’s National Water Model data.
Through strong partnerships and dedication, the Montana Silver Jackets team’s collaborative leveraging of advanced technical tools and resources has provided communities with accurate and easily communicable flood risk information. They have excelled in engaging with the public through outreach and communication efforts, providing leadership to improve existing processes, and collaborating with local officials.
The Montana Silver Jackets team, along with the support from the USACE Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, National Weather Service, and U.S. Geological Survey, developed a user-friendly cell phone application, allowing the public to monitor and report ice jam conditions. The team also implemented the ‘Highwater Mark Signage’ public outreach campaign.
The 2017 Silver Jackets Team of the Year award recognizes the Indiana Silver Jackets work over the past 11 years, bringing together Federal and state governmental representatives, academics and non-profits to improve flood risk management within the State of Indiana. Team-led efforts include a study to examine fluvial erosion hazards, a project to identify areas susceptible to stream bank erosion, and partnering with Indiana University/ Purdue University of Indianapolis to use LiDAR data and GIS technology to identify non-levee embankments along streams.
Additionally, the team developed Flood Inundation Map libraries at over 40 sites in the state accompanied by team-sponsored workshops for citizens and local governmental representatives to assist with understanding how to use the maps and interpret the data.
The District of Columbia Silver Jackets is unique compared to other teams, as there are more than the typical number of agencies involved, including multiple levels of government and multiple branches of the military. The District of Columbia faces flood threats from several sources, including two rivers and tidal flooding.
The Team has subdivided into five groups to work on current priorities, including flood inundation mapping, flood emergency planning, levee certification and accreditation, communication and outreach, and interior flooding.
A few outstanding accomplishments to highlight include the development of updated flood inundation mapping tools that will better communicate flood impacts to agency leadership and the general public, a flood fighting exercise that brought together 58 participants from 18 of the key agencies involved in flood risk management, and coordination to make repairs to an existing flood risk management project to bring it back to the standards necessary to obtain accreditation from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The Oregon Silver Jackets is a sub-committee of the State Interagency Hazard Mitigation Team. The team has collaborated to complete many useful products including development of a Rapid Assessment of Flooding Tool (RAFT) to combine data available from multiple sources to estimate flood frequencies of recent and forecasted events across the state. This information is immensely useful in prioritizing emergency preparedness and post-disaster activities and has benefits for levee safety activities.
In addition to being recognized as a useful tool in Oregon, RAFT has been recognized by neighboring states and is now being expanded to incorporate these additional states. Another example of the team’s success is its development of improved methods to collect and store perishable data after flood events, collectively outlining the Perishable Data Plan for Oregon, which was invoked after flood events.
In addition, working together they developed a Statewide Flood Hazard Layer database to provide a common location for historical data, floodplain-mapping products, and high water mark data. Further, the team has developed and participated in numerous public education and outreach activities focusing on methods that provide educational information directly to the public. Activities include a “one-stop-shop” web page with multi-agency links for Oregon residents, a multi-agency state-wide flood awareness campaign based on the 50th anniversary of the devastating 1964 Christmas flood, and numerous community High Water Mark signs.
Since the California Silver Jackets formation in early 2013, the team has focused extensively on activities to increase outreach, awareness of, and education about flood risk management.
In the first year of its coming together, this multi-level interagency team has developed and implemented a Flood Awareness Week outreach campaign, participated in the Know Your Line initiative, publicized high water marks from historic flood events, developed a draft charter, and completed the California’s Flood Future Report: Recommendations for Managing the State’s Flood Risk.
Through involvement in this report, the team assisted in developing a strategy for managing future flood risk throughout the state.
The Pennsylvania Silver Jackets formed in the fall of 2010, during the process of updating the Commonwealth’s Hazard Mitigation Plan, and formalized through development of a charter in summer 2011. The team’s 2012 priorities were to collaborate on updating the state hazard mitigation plan and focus on flood risk management outreach and education. The team compiled online resources to answer common questions from the public before, during, and after flood events into a Flood Risk Management Resources website. They organized training workshops on nonstructural flood proofing techniques, assisting communities in understanding how to reduce risk through these techniques.
In addition to sharing information and leveraging resources during the historic fall 2011 flooding, the team brought together federal and state agencies in early 2012 to meet with communities to provide information on post-flood activities and funding opportunities. The team also developed a Flood Inundation Mapping Tool for the City of Harrisburg and neighboring communities, which will provide timely information to stakeholders and assist in pre-flood decision-making to maximize public safety.
The Kansas Hazard Mitigation Team implemented FEMA’s RiskMAP program, reviewed and revised the state hazard mitigation plan, reviewed local mitigation and flood management plans, and promoted the Community Rating System throughout the state.
In addition, the team is completing a Silver Jackets pilot project to enable a community to provide predictive flood modeling and forecasting while integrating the various agency missions.
The Iowa Silver Jackets Flood Risk Management Team priorities include local, county, and regional floodplain education and flood risk management training, focusing interagency capability on select pilot watersheds, supporting state-wide floodplain mapping and Risk MAP implementation, awareness of tools and information from agencies such as NRCS and NWS, and expanding community participation in the Community Rating System.
Their accomplishments include implementing a locally supported combined structural/non-structural levee repair alternative, floodplain management recommendations to the Iowa legislature, prioritizing Community Development Block Grant funded projects, post-dam failure maximum flood extent mapping, and a flood awareness and readiness campaign. Of particular note is the Green Island Levee and Drainage District, an interagency non-structural alternative to acquire floodplain easements and restore 1200 acres of wetlands.