Quarterly Newsletter [July 2012] - Silver Jackets



Quarterly Newsletter [July 2012] - Silver Jackets
The purpose of this newsletter is to
share recent Silver Jackets news and
to provide a forum for team support,
sharing successes, lessons learned, and
Two USACE Employees receive
IASFSM awards...................................1
2012 FRM & SJ Workshop..................1
Spotlight on…Montana SJ Team.......2
South Dakota Silver Jackets..............3
Community Rating System and SJ
NRCS Emergency Watershed
Protection in PA..................................6
Great Flood of 1913 and Outreach....7
Pro-Active Measures in Maine...........8
USACE Inventory of Non-Structural
Upcoming Events..............................11
Illinois Association of State Floodplain and
Stormwater Managers Presents Awards to Two
USACE Employees
Congratulations to Hank DeHaan and Matt Hunn who each
received an Outstanding Service Award from the Illinois
Association of Floodplain and Stormwater Management
(IAFSM). This award is given to an individual or an agency
that has inspired floodplain management efforts or implemented
unique programs that encourage flood reduction. Matt is a
Flood Risk Manager from the St. Louis District and Hank is a
Flood Risk Manager from the Rock Island District.
Paul Osman, the Awards Committee Chairman, presented these
awards to Matt and Hank at the IAFSM annual conference that
was held March 12-15 in Rosemont, Illinois with over 500
in attendance. The IAFSM serves as the combined voice of
floodplain management within the state of Illinois and represents
local, state, and federal governments along with the private sector, the research community, the
insurance industry, and professional groups. Hank and Matt received the awards for exceeding
normal expectations by addressing levee issues and local floodplain management in Illinois and
other Midwest states. Mr. Osman noted, “Most importantly, they have added a human face
and a reliable point-of-contact for virtually all Corps activities in Illinois.” The award write-up
indicates that together they have:
Hank DeHaan, Rock Island
District (left) accepts awards
from Mike Cothard
Matt Hunn, St. Louis District
• Coordinated the inspections of nearly 1500 miles of levee systems in Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri
• Helped lead the USACE effort to evaluate the performance of Mississippi River levees, floodways, and reservoirs
during the 2011 flood
• Assisted citizens in understanding risk and what to do about it
• Participated on state and regional teams focusing on improving flood risk management
• Represented Illinois and the Midwest on national flood risk management teams
• Helped coordinate the USACE flood fight efforts in 2008 and 2011 floods
For more on these awards and other activities held at the 2012 IAFSM Conference go to the association newsletter at:
Flood Risk Management - Silver Jackets Workshop in Harrisburg, PA
g P
e o ple a n d
ti n
2012 FLOOD
The August 20-24 Workshop is fast approaching. Registration is open and a few sessions have
already filled to capacity! Strong representation from state and other Federal agencies is preferred
to broaden the perspective so encourage your partners to attend. Registration for both the workshop
and on-site hotel accommodations can be completed at www.nfrmp.us/frmpw. The negotiated
Workshop rate (Room Block: USACE-Flood Risk Management) has been extended to July 31st.
When registering, participants will be asked to review the online agenda and choose breakout
On Monday, the Workshop begins with a selection of optional training classes, including the CFM Refresher (exam
Thursday), followed by a partner orientation and an informal welcome networking session at the hotel’s Market Square
Cafe. Tuesday morning’s opening plenary will address Pennsylvania's experiences with Hurricane Irene and Tropical
Storm Lee followed by an awards luncheon. The week's agenda will encourage discussions among the more than 30 Silver
Jackets teams in attendance, including dedicated Regional discussion time, leading to Friday's noon closing partnership
session in which participants will be encouraged to share ideas to implement within their states, districts, or regions.
The Buzz...a Silver Jackets Quarterly Newsletter
July 2012
Spotlight on Montana and South Dakota:
Montana Silver Jackets: A Team Approach to a Shared Vision
By Colleen Horihan, USACE Omaha District
Distinguished by the May 2012 charter
signing, the Montana Silver Jackets team
is quite active. The team charter members
consist of the Department of Natural
Resources and Conservation, Montana
Disaster and Emergency Services, FEMA
Region VIII, and the USACE Omaha and
Seattle Districts. Other agencies may be
invited to participate as the team evolves.
Montana has one of the premier floodplain
management programs in the nation. It goes
above and beyond the basic requirements
of the National Flood Insurance Program.
For example, Montana is one of only eight
states that has more stringent requirements
than the federal standards for mapping
floodways. To maintain this standard, the
state completed a comprehensive report
in July 2011 that provides a detailed
assessment of Montana’s flooding risks
and floodplain management practices.
The goal of the assessment is to strengthen
policies and programs that reduce flood
risk and protect floodplains.
Lawrence Siroky, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation-Bureau Chief of Water
Operations, and Traci Sears, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation-NFIP
Montana’s beautiful streams and rivers are an attraction to those who enjoy living near water. The challenge is to ensure that
people are aware of flood and erosion hazards so that they don’t build at risk to their lives and property. As the assessment
report indicates, there are two particular challenges that need to be addressed: more flood risk mapping needs to be developed
since there is a lack of floodplain mapping for most of the state’s rivers and streams and, where there are maps, common
Montana flood hazards such as ice jam risks and channel migration need to be included.
The signing of the charter is timely in that it is expected that the Silver Jackets Team will work collaboratively to examine
and more fully develop the recommendations contained in the July flood management assessment report. The Team will
offer guidance on implementation, as well as identify and collectively pursue funding opportunities that will support the
recommendations outlined in the assessment report.
Semi-annual meetings will examine flood risks, identify potential flood risk management mitigation measures, and exchange
information. The Team will identify information or activity gaps, minimize duplication of efforts, and encourage pre- and postflood disaster collaboration among its members. The Team will also support the state in establishing interagency committees
to develop recommendations for improving education and outreach, new planning tools, and state regulatory reforms. The
effort will promote best practices designed to avoid or limit flood disasters, minimize flood risks, and maintain or restore
the natural and beneficial functions of the floodplains, including natural storage. One of the first items of business for the
Team will be to develop a unified message around these best practices and distribute this message to legislators, counties,
communities, watershed groups, conservation districts, other interests groups, and the general public.
For more information, contact Colleen Horihan, USACE Omaha District at [email protected] or Traci Sears,
Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation at [email protected] The Montana Floodplain Management
Assessment Report can be found at www.mtfloodplain.mt.gov.
The Buzz...a Silver Jackets Quarterly Newsletter
July 2012
South Dakota Silver Jackets: An Integrated Team Approach to Flood
Risk Management
By Lowell Blankers, USACE Omaha District
While the rest of the country was waiting for the arrival of spring and the start of a new natural disaster season, the South
Dakota Silver Jackets Team was quietly growing in stature and became official with the signing of their charter as of May
2012. The charter is comprised of the following nine member agencies:
• South Dakota Office of Emergency Management
• South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural
• South Dakota Department of Transportation
• South Dakota Bureau of Information and Telecommunication
• Federal Emergency Management Agency (Region VIII)
• U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District
• U.S. Geological Survey
• U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Fishing pier underwater near Pierre, SD, during 2011 flood with
Advance Measures Levee covered with plastic in the background.
• National Weather Service
Other agencies will be invited to participate as the team evolves.
Sandbagging operation during 2011 Flood in Pierre/
Ft. Pierre.
This charter and the interaction of multiple agencies could not have come at a
better time as the State of South Dakota recovers from historic flooding along the
Missouri River and several of its major tributaries. Four of the nation’s largest
hydroelectric dams and reservoirs are located along the Missouri River in South
Dakota. In addition, the James River, with its headwaters in North Dakota, flows
southward through the heart of South Dakota.
While South Dakota’s vast system of reservoirs is a heartland attraction for their recreation, fishing, camping, and boating
opportunities, the many rivers and streams such as the Big Sioux, James, Elm, Bear Butte, Cheyenne, and Moreau provide
scenic beauty to the high plains regions, Badlands, and Black Hills. As with any Silver Jackets team, there are plenty
of flood risk challenges facing South Dakota’s members. As a starting point, the team will rely upon the State Hazard
Mitigation Plan which was recently updated and will be cross-walked with Silver Jackets priorities. Tina Titze, Assistant
Director of the South Dakota Office of Emergency Management, said, "It has been excellent to begin the coordination
and the coming together of so many state and federal partners to achieve the state charter. Our office is looking forward
to developing the team and coordinating to mitigate against and preparing for future flood disasters."
Agencies such as USACE, FEMA, and the USGS have a long history with the state, and their lead coordinators are
looking forward to working collectively with their state counterparts on any of the perceived flood risks throughout the
state. Face to face meetings and conference calls will be held at least quarterly to discuss and identify flood risks and
to collaborate on potential flood risk management mitigation measures. In their eagerness to develop the charter and to
bring partners together from across the state and region, representatives of the member agencies traveled to North Dakota
to listen to and discuss mutual concerns with their northern neighbors in regards to the flood risks associated with the
James River. This is all part of the strategy to have the South Dakota Silver Jackets Team develop a collaborative process
which will bring them the resolve to face their flood risk challenges head on.
For more information, contact Lowell Blankers, USACE Omaha District at [email protected] or Tina
Titze, South Dakota Office of Emergency Management at [email protected]
The Buzz...a Silver Jackets Quarterly Newsletter
July 2012
Community Rating System Identifies a Potential Need for Federal/
State Technical Assistance
By Bill Lesser, FEMA Flood Insurance and Mitigation Administration
Federal and state agencies can help reduce the cost of flood insurance in communities seeking Community Rating System
(CRS) program credit for certain floodplain management practices. Knowing about these opportunities and anticipating
community needs for technical assistance in understanding CRS will help reduce flood damages, increase citizen safety,
and make communities more disaster resilient
CRS, part of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), offers reduced flood insurance premiums if the community
is proactive in managing its flood risks. This incentive has been shown to motivate communities to adopt new flood
protection programs and maintain existing standards well after their residents forget about the last flood. The objectives
of the program are threefold: reduce and avoid flood damage to insurable property by making communities more disaster
resilient , strengthen and support the insurance aspects of NFIP by reducing liabilities to the insurance fund, and foster
comprehensive floodplain management . As of May 2012, there are 1,211 CRS participating communities nationwide and
30 to 40 new communities joining each year. In 2011 alone, flood insurance policy holders in participating communities
collectively saved approximately $300 million in premium reductions through CRS.
The primary reason a Silver Jackets team or
a federal/state agency would be interested
in getting involved with CRS is that both
the federal/state agency and local officials
from CRS communities have a common
goal to better manage flood risks to reduce
damages. In addition, Silver Jackets teams
and their members can help with specific
projects that can be counted for CRS
credit by communities. This is especially
important since many communities have
very limited budgets and resources. Pooling
resources and assistance can increase
local implementation of good floodplain
management practices.
Among the 77 or so eligible floodplain
management tasks that a community can
undertake to be recognized for credit under
CRS, several stand out in which a state or
federal agency might assist. Although the selection of CRS activities bulleted below is not intended to be all inclusive, it
will point out a few areas for possible collaboration. CRS credit may be granted under:
• Activity 320, Map Information Service, if a community provides the public with information on flood problems not
shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map, such as flood depths, historic flood information, and/or natural floodplain
functions such as fish and wildlife habitats.
• Activity 330, Outreach Projects, for educating the public on preparing for a flood, flood awareness, impacts of
floods in the area, and flood proofing measures.
• Activity 360, Flood Protection Assistance, for advising the public on property protection and sources of financial
assistance for property protection measures.
The Buzz...a Silver Jackets Quarterly Newsletter
July 2012
• Activity 410, Floodplain Mapping, for new floodplain mapping, more restrictive floodway standards, and requiring
state reviews.
• Activity 420, Open Space Preservation, for dedicating floodplains as permanent open space, with extra credit for
restoring floodplains to their natural function.
• Activity 510, Floodplain Management Planning, for developing a flood mitigation plan for a community.
• Activity 520, Acquisition and Relocation, for removing structures permanently from the floodplain. Additional
credit is available for removing priority buildings, such as repetitive loss structures and critical facilities and if more
than 30% of the floodprone buildings are cleared.
• Activity 530, Flood Protection, for retrofitting buildings and constructing other flood protection projects.
In addition, credit can be granted for Activity 610 Flood Warning and Response, if the community:
• Conducts exercises and evaluates a flood warning plan annually. The plan needs to be based on flood scenarios and
a flood forecast map that includes flood stages, depths, and warning times.
• Develops a flood threat recognition system such as an automatic flood warning system.
• Prepares an evacuation plan to include identification of secure locations and has flood warning and response plans
for critical facilities.
There are a number of activities that
support a local levee safety program
for credit under Activity 620. The
community must adopt a levee failure
warning and response plan. In the
event that a levee were to overtop, the
plan should include a map that locates
each levee and the potential flooded
area along with the identification of
buildings and critical facilities. The
plan must be exercised and evaluated
annually. In addition, credit may
only be granted if there are annual
inspections and routine maintenance.
To encourage dam safety, communities
will be credited if they identify any
high-hazard potential dams and
develop a dam failure warning and
response plan that includes a failure
inundation map. The plan must be
exercised and evaluated annually.
Each one of these activities listed above overlap with at least one state or federal agency's duties of responsibility. Any state
or federal agency assistance that could be provided to these proactive CRS communities so that they could have a better
product would be a smart investment. To get involved, one should contact the state floodplain management coordinator
directly or check with the coordinator if the state has a CRS users group. An agency working with a community on a
floodplain management project should be mindful of the community’s CRS status so that the project can be incorporated
into the CRS system for credit. More on this topic can be obtained from a recent CRS webinar posted on the Silver
Jackets website.
The Buzz...a Silver Jackets Quarterly Newsletter
July 2012
Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program Assists
Pennsylvania in Preventing Further Erosion
By Molly McDonough, NRCS Harrisburg, PA
Robert Richards had a good 30 feet of backyard above Oxbow Creek at one of his rental properties. Then last fall, Hurricane
Irene and Tropical Storm Lee laid claim to it, sweeping away about 400 feet of streambank in hard-hit Wyoming County,
Pa. "The creek came up to 18 inches below the back porch, and I lost the back yard," recalls Richards. "There used to be
stone steps, built in the mid-1930's that went to the creek. They, too, washed away."
After learning that federal disaster aid might be available, Richards immediately sought assistance. The Federal Emergency
Management Agency, USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Wyoming County Conservation District,
and Wyoming County Commissioners determined that future flooding caused by the stream bank erosion was a threat to
life and property, and that the situation required immediate action.
To stabilize the stream bank and prevent further erosion, more than 400 feet of large rip rap was installed along Richard's
properties. "The toe of the stream bank and the bank itself are now protected so that any future high water will not cause
further erosion," reports Ed Patchcoski, NRCS District Conservationist.
Without this emergency work, additional flooding could have
destroyed Richards' homes. Funding was provided by USDA's
NRCS and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP). Through the Emergency Watershed Protection
Program, NRCS was able to pay 75% of the construction costs. As
stipulated in the EWP regulations, local sponsors were responsible
for the remaining 25% which was provided by DEP. The
Wyoming County Commissioners stepped forward and handled
local sponsorship and administrative concerns.
The EWP program was established by Congress under Section 216
of Public Law 81-516 and Public Law 95-334 to help safeguard
individuals and property by relieving imminent hazards caused
by a sudden impairment to a watershed, such as flooding and
erosion. EWP work is not limited to a set of prescribed measures.
NRCS field employees investigate the projects on a case-by-case
basis. Examples of eligible projects include: debris removal
from waterways that are causing threats to homes, businesses
or utilities; reshaping and protecting eroding stream banks that
endanger homes, businesses and utilities; and reseeding areas that
are excessively eroding.
During severe flooding on Oxbow Creek, 30 feet of yard eroded up to
the back porch.
After the flood, NRCS's Emergency Watershed Protection program
installed 400 feet of rip rap to protect stream bank near porch's edge.
After Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, Congress authorized a special appropriation of over $250 million of
which $10 million was targeted for Pennsylvania. Consequently, NRCS surveyed 260 Pennsylvania sites for damages
and found 140 projects eligible for assistance through EWP. To date, eight projects have been completed, and the rest are
expected to be completed by the end of this year. The majority of these projects are for stream bank stabilization in areas
where private residences, businesses, or public utilities are threatened.
Similar work is also still underway in New York, Vermont, and other Northeast states. If a Silver Jackets team would
like more information about NRCS or the Emergency Watershed Protection Program, contact your local USDA Service
Center, or visit www.nrcs.usda.gov.
The Buzz...a Silver Jackets Quarterly Newsletter
Using the Great Flood of 1913 as an Outreach Platform
July 2012
By Sarah Jamison, Service Hydrologist NWS Cleveland
One hundred years ago, one of the greatest natural disasters to strike in the history of the Ohio River Valley came in the
form of a cataclysmic flood. On Easter Sunday, March 23, 1913, it started to rain in the far western portions of the Ohio
Valley and continued for three days and nights. Before the first night was over, thousands of people were evacuated as
towns along creeks and rivers were inundated with flood waters. Levees built to previous record flood stages were quickly
overtopped, burying towns with ooze and debris-filled, rushing water that uplifted railroad tracks, tore down bridges, and
destroyed thousands of homes and businesses.
One way to better appreciate the magnitude of the Great Flood
of 1913 is to note that it covered the same area as another
record breaking Ohio River Valley flood that occurred in
January 1959; however, the 1913 event produced twice
the rainfall. The vast volume of runoff that resulted from
the 1913 flood is unmatched, even to this day, in most of
Indiana, Ohio, and parts of Kentucky and Pennsylvania. In
the floods wake, 527 lives were lost along with an estimated
$145 million of 1913 dollars in property damage.
The flood was immediately followed by an era of flood
awareness. Out of the chaos grew the demand for more
protection, ultimately resulting in new dams, levees, and
flood walls along the communities that were the hardest hit.
Most were spearheaded by the city of Dayton and the state of
Ohio. In February of 1914, the Ohio Conservancy Act was
passed allowing for the creation of conservancy districts, the
first of which was in the hardest hit Miami River Basin. As stated in a 1917 Miami Conservancy District report, “The
people of the Miami Valley learned through the flood to do effective team work and to share their resources in furthering
common interests.” A sentiment shared by modern day Silver Jackets.
What did the 1913 flood teach us about sustainable floodplain management? Rarely is there one solution to a community’s
flood problems; rather, a combination of strategies is needed to reduce risk. Some of these strategies include:
• Prevention measures (building, zoning, storm water management, floodplain regulations)
• Property protection measures (acquisition, elevation, relocation, flood insurance)
• Natural resource protection (wetland protection, erosion/sediment control)
• Emergency services (warning programs, disaster response)
• Structural projects (dams, levees, channel modifications)
• Public information (outreach, technical assistance, education)
The authority to implement these strategies is spread across various government agencies, the private sector, non-profits,
academia, etc. Silver Jackets teams are comprised of organizations such as these that work together combining resources
and expertise to manage flood risks.
In order to know where you are going, you must know where you have been. The Silver Jackets of Ohio, Indiana,
Kentucky, and Pennsylvania hope to raise public flood awareness through an outreach campaign based on the 100th
anniversary of the Great Ohio Valley 1913 Flood. Starting in 2013, a webpage, outreach materials, presentations, a
table-top exercise, and more will be used to promote, not only flood awareness, but public education on the flood risk
management roles of each state and federal agency that participates on the Silver Jackets teams.
The Buzz...a Silver Jackets Quarterly Newsletter
July 2012
Pro-Active Measures will Reduce Flood Costs in Maine
By Christopher Hatfield, Leanna Martin, and Paul Morelli, USACE New England District
Over the years in supporting presidential declarations, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has
reimbursed millions of dollars for countless numbers
West Gardiner
of culvert repairs and road washouts to states, counties,
and local communities. Culvert failures and subsequent
road washouts have not only been expensive, but have
lead to serious business interruptions, as well as major
Site # 15908
inconveniences to residents. In many cases, the culverts
Two Pipe Arch Culverts
Abagadasset River
Richmond, Maine
were replaced with a larger culvert or hydraulic structure
to mitigate future damage. In Maine, through the Silver
Site # 15911
Jackets Pilot Program, the State has taken a unique direction
Two Pipe Arch Culverts
Abagadasset River
Richmond, Maine
and tasked the Silver Jackets team, working with the Maine
Interagency Stream Connectivity Working Group created
by the Governor, to assist with an analysis that will provide
Site # 15913
Open Bottom Arch Culverts
communities with information needed to identify public
Abagadasset River
Richmond, Maine
works structures that will be threatened in extreme weather
events. By increasing public awareness at the local level
and encouraging preemptive mitigation efforts, this project
will reduce flood risk caused by undersized structures.
Site # 15929
The Maine pilot project will support an ongoing multiBridge with Abutments
Bottomless Box Culvert
agency program to complete a hydraulic structural failure
Abagadasset River
Site # 15930
Bowdoinham, Maine
Bridge with Abutments
analysis for about 500 structures, supplementing FEMA’s
Bottomless Box Culvert
Abagadasset River
Bowdoinham, Maine
RiskMAP floodplain mapping effort by identifying atLOCATION MAP
risk culverts. The results of this analysis will provide
community officials with information needed to understand
the connection between local decisions regarding
Maine Hydraulic Structure
Failure Analysis
development and installation of hydraulic structures and the
resiliency of these structures when confronted with extreme
weather events. It will facilitate consideration of strategic
Identified at-risk structures if stressed by extreme weather events.
replacement of high-priority structures during ongoing
maintenance, rather than after failure of undersized culverts during a flood event with its potential for high velocity
damage and road damage.
The pilot project included developing an automated hydrologic and hydraulic analysis tool for surveyed structures to
determine capacity to handle 10-, 25-, 50-, and 100-year events. The information from this analysis will be integrated into
RiskMAP as “areas of mitigation interest”. In the end, the data will be provided to key personnel within 21 communities
that will allow them to identify hydraulic structures that may be at risk from failure and at what level they are likely to
This $40,000 pilot project supports the Maine statewide mitigation plan to strategically spend mitigation funding on
infrastructure replacements. Other contributions are being leveraged including $80,000 from State Planning, the Maine
Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The study will assist 21 towns in prioritizing
future culvert replacements due to flooding. It is anticipated that communities will prioritize and replace culverts that
are at a high risk of failure with structures that are capable of sustaining viability through a 1% flood event. Although the
study results won’t necessarily reduce mitigation payouts, it will assist in selectively targeting the most at-risk structures
for replacement. The data from the analysis will be integrated into FEMA’s non-regulatory RiskMAP product as areas of
mitigation interest to raise local awareness and to be incorporated into local mitigation plans.
The Buzz...a Silver Jackets Quarterly Newsletter
July 2012
USACE Inventory to Feature Nonstructural Flood Risk Management
By Stuart Davis, USACE IWR
(Left) Building remains and other debris found in the aftermath of 2009 flash flood in the Tug Fork Valley. (Huntington District Photo) (Right) 2007 flooding on
Willow Creek in Iowa (Omaha District Photo)
The USACE National Nonstructural Flood Proofing Committee, with the support of the National Flood Risk Management
Program, is planning to undertake a comprehensive inventory of USACE nonstructural flood mitigation activities. The
inventory will document nonstructural actions recommended in planning documents, authorized projects, and floodplain
management technical assistance. In addition, the inventory will include links to feasibility reports and other decision
documents, highlight the USACE progress with nonstructural measures, and serve as a valuable resource for district
planners. Of the many case studies to be included in the inventory, the Huntington and Nashville Districts’ utilization of
Section 202 Program and the Omaha District’s Section 22 Study are highlighted below.
The Huntington and Nashville Districts’
Section 202 application is USACE’s most
ambitious and successful nonstructural
program to date. It has reduced flood risk
in the Tug Fork, Levisa Forks, and Upper
Cumberland River Basin with raised
structures, buyout and relocation, dry flood
proofing, and ring walls, as well as levees,
floodwalls and pumping stations.
After a devastating flash flood completely
destroyed 600 homes and heavily damaged
another 5,000 buildings in the West Virginia
and Kentucky Tug Fork Valley, Congress
used Section 202 of the 1980 Energy and
Water Act to authorize comprehensive
flood mitigation in that region. This
comprehensive approach, implemented by
the Huntington and Nashville Districts,
has included the most extensive and wide-
Elevating a home in Grundy, VA
The Buzz...a Silver Jackets Quarterly Newsletter
July 2012
range of nonstructural flood mitigation effort that
USACE has undertaken to date.
The Tug Fork Valley was the first area to receive
major attention. Early on, the Huntington District
assembled an interdisciplinary staff comprised
of engineers, architects, and planners, including
people who were skilled with intergovernmental
coordination and public participation. Huntington
had tremendous success with its coordination
efforts, demonstrated by a 90% participation rate
from eligible property owners who opted for
nonstructural measures such as structure raising
and property acquisition. By 2010, 927 structures
in the Tug Fork area alone had either been flood
proofed or relocated to higher ground.
The Section 202 project delivery team created a
standard local cooperation agreement that requires
A ring wall in Grundy, Virginia
local operation and maintenance, participation in
the National Flood Insurance Program, and operation of a flood warning and emergency evacuation plan. This agreement
also stipulates that evacuated floodplain lands be set aside for wildlife habitat.
Among the primary lessons learned from the 202 process, the Huntington District cited the importance of including the
public in the decision-making process, using prototype and test programs to educate the contractors and property owners,
and coordinating activities with FEMA, state, and local officials.
In 2007, flood waters on Willow Creek in western Iowa took over a week to subside, and 500 residents were displaced.
Mold and mildew from the long duration flooding were among the factors that destroyed 77 homes and 6 businesses.
Following this flood, the Omaha District initiated a Section 22 study that included a major nonstructural component. This
component is notable for the broad range of nonstructural measures that were examined and the clear manner in which
the nonstructural assessment was conducted and documented. The Willow Creek study is preliminary to a more detailed
Section 205 report. A sample of flood-prone
properties was selected for an analysis. The Omaha
District team explored the technical requirements
and economic viability of various options. These
included elevating structures, filling basements and
adding above ground additions, single-property
berms, dry flood proofing, and permanent property
acquisition. State and local agencies provided
much of the information needed for the analysis.
At least 50% of the sample properties appeared
feasible for providing protection against the 100year flood. With this excellent supporting data,
the study team is justified in moving onto the next
stage of planning.
Construction of 13 acres flood-safe redevelopment site in Grundy, VA, for business and
other relocation
The Buzz...a Silver Jackets Quarterly Newsletter
July 2012
Upcoming Events
• The Whole Community Approach to Floodplain Management hosted by Northwest Regional Floodplain
Management Association, Idaho Silver Jackets, and TetraTech, Boise, ID, August 2-3
• National Association of Flood and Stormwater Management Agencies Annual Meeting, Coeur d'Alene, ID,
August 13-16
• USACE Flood Risk Management & Silver Jackets Workshop, Harrisburg, PA, August 20-24
• Northwest Regional Floodplain Management Association Annual Conference, Spokane, WA, Sept 19-21
• American Planning Association four State Conference (MN, IA, IL, and WI), Madison, WI, Sept 27
• Wisconsin Association of Floodplain, Stormwater, and Coastal Managers Conference, “Making Waves! Our 10yr Event”, Madison, WI, Oct 10-12
• American Planning Association Conference, "Planning Flood-Resilient Communities", Kansas City, Oct 10.
Practicing planners, researchers, and engineers will share the most current thinking on risk and recovery.
• South Carolina Water Resources Conference, Columbia, South Carolina, Oct 10-11
• MN Association of Floodplain Managers Conference, Rochester, MN, Nov 14-16

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