Interagency Nonstructural Projects for 2020

In July 2019, USACE Institute for Water Resources selected these projects for the Kansas Team.

  • Flood Induced Contamination Mapping. This project will establish a set of maps for communities in Kansas using both the USACE 2-dimensional hydraulic modeling mapping skills and an EPA program to map the fate of contaminations after flooding.
  • New Era Risk Management Options. Two projects that had been tentatively selected in September 2018 will be active, including for Abilene and Hutchinson, Kansas.
  • Missouri River Flood Risk Management Plan. This project will engage state agencies along the Missouri River between Rulo and Columbia, MO, to form a strategic floodplain plan with counties, levee sponsors, and major stakeholders.

New Era Risk Management Options in Leveed Communities

The goal of this 2019 Kansas Silver Jackets initiative is to support communities looking to diversify their flood risk management toolbox. For background, the USACE’s national Levee Safety Program has established a risk portfolio that consistently approaches the risk assessment, risk communication, and the way forward to risk management in the shared responsibility of using levees to reduce the risk of flooding. The USACE Civil Works director’s memo (Placing Levee Systems in a Risk Context, Emphasis on Communication and Sponsor Engagement) introduced this push. This initiative provides tactical support to Ottawa, and then to Abilene and Hutchinson, emphasizing understanding the flood risk and helping the communities in pursuing actions through the Silver Jackets Program. These projects fund USACE costs for the involvement to mitigate risk using the Flood Plain Management Services authority.

As with many of the levee sponsors, they are all starting to see the gap that must be addressed to do flood risk management. Some must more clearly explain needed actions, designate a place for debris, establish an internal communication plan, explain risk to the public, relocate critical infrastructure (especially communications centers), or write predetermined messages tied to specific triggers. A central focus for many levee sponsors is going to be the quality of their emergency action plan (EAP), especially with including specifics for evacuations. USACE may assist levee sponsors with their EAPs in a workshop. For more on how to enhance a community’s EAP to enhance risk communication, see “A Guide To Public Alerts and Warnings for Dam and Levee Emergencies (pdf, 2.2MB),” prepared by Drs. Mileti and Sorensen for USACE.

The web link below offers a web page setup to address the levee related references and details on projects under Silver Jackets designed to aid the state's levee safety efforts.

Silver Jackets levee safety initiatives with the State of Kansas

Interagency Nonstructural Projects for 2019

In September 2018, USACE Institute for Water Resources selected four new projects for the Kansas Team!

  • Rossville Nonstructural Assessment & Public Outreach. This project will provide nonstructural assessment and public involvement assistance to the city. The public will be invited to an open house about nonstructural measures that can diversify their property's flood risk mitigation actions.
  • Ottawa New Era Flood Risk Management Options. This is a project aimed at raising awareness of the additional flood solutions available to communities with major levees. The project will provide help enhancing the city's flood risk management playbook. Possible action items in that playbook will touch on nonstructural measures, emergency action plans, evacuation planning, and other helpful measures. See the New Era article below.
  • Abilene Emergency Action Plan (New Era Flood Risk Management Options). Since August 2019, this project has developed an EAP for the community and the levee on Mud Creek.
  • Hutchinson Public Messageing (New Era Flood Risk Management Options). This project, which was delayed into 2020, is focusing on public messaging for five levees in the vicinity of Hutchinson, KS.

2018 Interagency Nonstructural Projects

For the FY 2018, over $300,000 came to the Kansas team for four projects:

  • Repetitive Loss Update. The Division of Water Resources received technical help in updating a database where repetitive losses have occurred in communities participating in FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program.
  • Recurring Flood Area Identification and Outreach. The project has been a partnership between the KDA Division of Water Resources, the NOAA National Weather Service, USACE, FEMA's Community Engagement and Risk Communication initiative, and other agencies. DWR established a shared database and a web mapping tool for flood hazard locations. The database helps enhance flood forecasts for areas sensitive to flood hazards. Data stored includes flood information, weather, climate, river forecasting, and emergency contacts lists. The USACE staff has provided follow up technical assistance to manage those flood risks. The project also assisted Kansas in bringing NOAA National Weather Service Turn Around Don't Drown signs to communities for free. Communities that entered flood hazard data in the DWR web tool received multiple TADD signs for each location.
  1. Geographically, using a web tool supported by Kansas DWR: Flood Area ID Web Map
  2. Communities can also mail information to Kansas DWR, 6531 SE Forbes Ave. Ste. B Topeka, KS 66619.
  3. A community may also contact Kansas DWR staff to assist via phone or email.

Road sign that reads: When Flooded Turn Around Don't Drown

  • High Water Mark Signs. This project provided free signs for communities in Kansas. The signs provide a historic story and picture of flooding in the community and raise awareness on flood risks. Partners include the KDA Division of Water Resources (DWR) and the Kansas Historical Society. See DWR's web site for the participating communities here.


Florence Historic Flooding sign Brooker-Central Park


Ottawa Historic Flooding site

These historic flood signs can be mounted on simple wood or metal posts. The signs shown are two sites in Kansas where the communities decided to go a step up. Marion, KS staff posted their sign (two top images) using a very nice native stone mounting. The Ottawa, KS sign used a kiosk style (bottom image [pdf of the sign, 11.6 MB]).

  • Salina Levee Safety. The project conducted a tabletop exercise that help identified needed enhancements to managing flood risks. Focus will included the actions to identify evacuation routes and enhance the city's emergency action plan. On March 8, 2018, the Kansas City District, in cooperation with the Kansas Hazard Mitigation Team, Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Water Resources, Kansas Department of Emergency Management, Saline County Emergency Management, and City of Salina, KS, conducted the tabletop exercise. About 90 people from local, state, federal governments, as well as nongovernmental organizations (Red Cross, Salvation Army, hospitals, etc.) participated (read more in the Salina Journal). The objectives include promoting awareness of Salina-area flood risk, simulating emergency response activities and interactions, and identifying potential areas for improvement. USACE also tied in the risk associated with Kanapolis Dam overtopping and potential downstream impacts.
  • Manhattan Levee Safety. The project conducted a tabletop exercise that helps identifies needed enhancements to managing flood risks. On November 8, 2018, the Kansas City District, in cooperation with the Kansas Hazard Mitigation Team, Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Water Resources, Kansas Department of Emergency Management, and the local community, including Manhattan, KS, Riley County and Pottawatomie County, spent a day considering major flooding below Tuttle Creek and other Kansas Basin reservoirs. The event included 2-dimensional hydraulic analyses of overtopping locations. The exercise considered the floodplain management plan, and actions that could enhance the city's emergency action plan, as well as communication processes.

Manhattan Levee Safety event

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