Source: FEMA.gov Best Mitigation Practices News Feed
- Community Rating System Users Group - FAST: Sat, 26 Jul 2014 05:48:52 +0000 - Geographical Area:State:TXFEMA Region:Sector:PublicCategory/Activity/Project Type:Activity/Project Date:Friday, April 9, 2010Since mitigation effort began, has a disaster tested its value?:UnknownContact Name:Debbie VascikContact Phone:832-755-9249Contact Email:email@example.comCategory/Activity/Project Details:
The Floodplain Awareness Success in Texas (FAST) Community Rating System (CRS) users group is based in Houston, Texas and is made up of CRS communities that meet on a monthly basis to share ideas and best practices, learn new approaches to successful floodplain management, stay current on CRS trends, learn about available resources, and network with other communities. FAST communities are mostly from Harris County and Galveston County; however, other cities in the state have participated either by attending meetings in person or via a call-in line.
The National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) CRS is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements.
As a result, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community actions meeting the three goals of the CRS:
- Reduce flood damage to insurable property;
- Strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the NFIP, and
- Encourage a comprehensive approach to floodplain management.
There are currently 62 CRS communities in Texas. The breakdown of CRS classes in the state is as follows: Class 9 - 5 communities (8%), Class 8 - 14 communities (22%), Class 7 - 27 communities (44%), Class 6 - 10 communities (16%), and Class 5 - 6 communities (10%). Of the CRS communities participating in FAST, three of them hold the largest policy count and highest premium savings - Houston, Harris County, and Galveston (the latter's class 7 rating saves the community approximately $3.5 million annually (as of June 2014)).
FAST meetings are held at the Houston-Galveston Area Council (i.e., council of government) and typically consist of a presentation or webinar by a speaker or an organization followed by group discussion. Meeting topics in the past have included representation from the National Weather Service for a discussion on the StormReady program, webinars by ISO personnel on various CRS activities, private consultants sharing insights on flood mapping and higher standards, local CRS Coordinators presenting on activities in which they have scored highly, and representatives from the NFIP State Coordinator's Office on various FEMA and State mitigation grant programs. The group has benefited from field-deployed CRS training and has been approved to earn continuing education credits from the Texas Floodplain Management Association (TFMA).
FAST has been widely supported and encouraged on the local level, state level, and national level. Participation in the users group has given CRS coordinators a forum to express their opinions about the program, as well as a place to learn how to conquer the challenges that arise in floodplain management.
Floodplain Awareness Success in Texas (FAST)Is this a County-wide Project?:County/Counties:HarrisGalvestonBrazosBrazoriaFort BendOngoing:City:Baytown, Bellaire, Bryan, College Station, Conroe, Deer Park, Dickinson, Friendswood, Galveston, Houston, Jamaica Beach, La Porte, League City, Missouri City, Nassau Bay, Pasadena, Pearland, Seabrook, Shoreacres, Sugar LandIs this a Repetitive Loss Property?:UnknownSummary Documents:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:Hazard Images:
- Elevating a Slab-On-Grade Home: Tue, 17 Jun 2014 16:00:21 +0000 - State:ALSector:PrivateStructure Type:Activity/Project Date:Thursday, March 2, 2006 to Wednesday, December 6, 2006Funding Recipient:Activity/Project Cost Amount:$90,492Since mitigation effort began, has a disaster tested its value?:YesContact Name:Bonnie HanchettContact Phone:337 200-0658Contact Email:firstname.lastname@example.orgCategory/Activity/Project Details:
Baldwin County, AL – The Scarcliff family enjoyed living on the river. What they disliked was the fact that each time Fish River overtopped its banks, floodwaters would show its presence in their home.
Floodwaters made repeat visits to their slab-on-grade home until the Scarcliffs sought mitigation measures to hold it at bay.
“Our home has flooded five times. We’re only 300 feet away from the river” said Glenn Scarcliff, retired salesman. “In 1997, during Hurricane Danny, we got seven feet of water. Recovery costs were estimated at $168,000. We had three incidents where floodwaters got up to six to eight inches in our home. Then in 2005, we got five feet of water.”
To add to the family’s woes was the fact that Mr. Scarcliff bought the house in 1976 and had maintained flood insurance as long as the home was mortgaged. He paid the mortgage off in 11 years and canceled the policy shortly afterward.
“I thought I was wasting money,” said Scarcliff.
The Scarcliffs nearly exhausted their life savings to defray the cost of repairs following the 1997 flood event.
“I quickly went back to the insurance company, upon completion of repairs, to ask if I could be re-instated,” he said. “I was told I could.”
The Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offered a solution to the Scarcliffs’ flood issue – elevating their flood-prone home.
The elevation project was funded by FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).
HMGP provides grants to states and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration. The purpose of the HMGP is to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster. The state administers the grant. The project was approved March 2, 2006 and was completed December 6, 2006.
The total cost of the project was $90,492. The Federal share was 75 percent. Local share provided by the Scarcliffs was 25 percent. As policy holders in the National Flood Insurance Program, Increase Cost of Compliance (ICC) funds covered the Scarcliffs’ share.
If you have NFIP insurance, and your home has been declared substantially damaged, ICC coverage is provided to cover up to $30,000 of the cost to elevate, flood proof, demolish, or relocate your home. ICC coverage is in addition to the coverage you receive to repair flood damages.
The scope of work involved the use of hydraulic jacks and a network of I-beams to lift the slab-on-grade, wood-frame house. The contractor separated the house from the slab, lifted the house and left the slab on the ground. Because the slab was not lifted, the I-beams were inserted through openings cut into the walls of the house above the slab rather than below it. To enable the beams to lift the house, the contractor attached horizontal wood bracing to the interior and exterior walls at the tops of the openings.
The advantage to lifting the house without the slab is the fact that it’s lighter and therefore easier to lift. This applies mainly to wood frame and brick veneer homes. It is important to note, it is possible to lift the house with the slab attached if desired. Masonry homes are more difficult to lift because of their construction, design and weight; however, lifting these homes is also possible.
“The old slab was demolished and hauled away and a new slab was poured,” said Scarcliff. “The pilings are actually 24 feet long and had to be special ordered. They had to be special ordered and cost about $200 each.”
“We got to watch the entire elevation process,” said Scarcliff’s wife, Gabrielle. “It was so exciting to watch those jacks actually lift the house.”
“The engineer did the plans for the elevation project,” said Scarcliff. “According to the elevation certificate, we needed to elevate seven feet. We decided to go up 10 feet.”
On April 30, 2014, rushing floodwaters wreaked havoc in some of the homes in the town of Summerdale. The Scarcliffs’ 2,500 square-foot home stood high above the flood. Floodwaters rose up 4 feet on the subfloor.
“I am pleased with the project. Since the recent flood, I have spoken to two other homeowners regarding elevations. They plan to use ICC funds to raise their homes,” said Scarcliff.
For additional information, visit: http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/480 (see Chapter 5 of FEMA P-312: “Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting”) and http://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program-2/increased-cost-co....URL 2:Is this a County-wide Project?:County/Counties:BaldwinOngoing:City:SummerdaleIs this a Repetitive Loss Property?:YesSummary Documents:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:Hazard Images:Title:The Scarcliffs' Elevated HouseShort Description:The Scarcliffs' 2,500 square foot home sits on ninety-eight, 8x8 foot pilings (Photo by Bonnie Hanchett)Photographer Name:Bonnnie HanchettFile Upload:Title:Illustration DocumentShort Description:I-Beams, wood bracing, and jacks were installed before lifting the houseFile Upload:
- Combating Floodwaters While Living on Fish River: Wed, 11 Jun 2014 16:09:44 +0000 - State:ALSector:PrivateStructure Type:Activity/Project Date:Thursday, July 19, 2007 to Monday, March 10, 2008Funding:Funding Recipient:Since mitigation effort began, has a disaster tested its value?:YesContact Name:Bonnie HanchettContact Phone:337 200-0658Contact Email:email@example.comCategory/Activity/Project Details:
Baldwin County, AL – In 2014, Fish River experienced nothing short of a historic flood. Rain fell at a rate of several inches an hour throughout the night. The river swelled to record levels, surpassing flood stages set during Hurricane Danny 17 years earlier.
The rising water caused many residents to flee their homes during the night. Many roads through South Baldwin County were closed and some neighborhoods were cut off leaving people stranded and calling for help.
Returning home after the April 30 flood event, Daniel Godard realized all of his research and hard work had paid off. While some residents returned to homes completely inundated with floodwaters, his home was virtually unscathed. It sustained 12 to 16 inches of floodwaters at grade foundation.
“I knew the area floods. The only prudent thing to do was to build so that my home wouldn’t be impacted by the flood,” said Godard, a retired Director of Risk Management for Alabama’s Retirement System. “I bought the property in 1986, but chose not to build until 2008. I researched the area’s flood history and I watched floods in between to see just what I needed to do.”
Prior to building his home, Godard obtained a certificate of elevation. This certificate establishes the elevation of the lowest floor of the home relative to the flood level. It is critical to the safety of any home in a high-risk flood area. A community's permit file must have an official record that shows new buildings and substantial improvements (post mapping) in all Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) are properly elevated. This elevation information is needed to show compliance with the floodplain management ordinance.
“I was told that I needed to build up 10 feet. I decided to go up 15 feet.” said Godard.
Godard’s 1700-square foot home sits on 16 – 15-foot wooded pilings. The concrete slab is 3 feet above the island’s grade. He backfilled and landscaped the area so that the height of the slab would not be noticeable and graded the driveway so that it is on a gradual incline. The HVAC unit is also elevated. He built what he refers to as, a cage on the subfloor. It is a storage area, designed with breakaway walls.
“I built it with floods and hurricanes in mind,” Godard said.
Breakaway walls are not part of the structural support of the building and are intended through its design and construction to collapse under specific lateral loading forces, without causing damage to the elevated portion of the building or supporting foundation system.
“During the flood, everything in the storage room stayed in the room. Everything, on the patio floated away,” said Godard. “I also purchased a used trailer to house lawn equipment and other items to ensure their safety. When there is an impending flood, I hook the trailer up to my truck and haul it away.”
He plans to install a floating device that will trigger his alarm system. “That way, I will not have to rely on my neighbor to call and say, ‘Hey get up! It’s time to get out of there’ the next time it floods.”
Godard offers advice to other homebuilders. “Look at history. You can see what type of floods and hurricanes have come through. Get to know the area and build to protect your investment. If you live in a flood-prone area, you have to make certain that your home is protected. Equate that to going into a snake field. If you’re going, you need to wear leggings. It just makes sense.”Is this a County-wide Project?:County/Counties:BaldwinOngoing:City:Magnolia SpringsIs this a Repetitive Loss Property?:NoSummary Documents:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:Hazard Images:Title:Daniel Godard's Elevated HomeShort Description:Daniel Godard's elevated home has solidly built posts that should withstand low velocity stream flowsPhotographer Name:Bonnie HanchettFile Upload:Title:Photo of storage room and flood depthShort Description:The flood depth is visible on posts. The storage unit with breakaway walls is also picturedPhotographer Name:Bonnie HanchettFile Upload:Title:Elevated HVACShort Description:The HVAC is elevated and protected from floodwatersPhotographer Name:Bonnie HanchettFile Upload:
- Vernonia's Whole Community Working for a Resilient Future: Sat, 07 Jun 2014 16:33:32 +0000 - State:ORFEMA Region:Sector:PublicCategory/Activity/Project Type:Activity/Project Date:Friday, August 17, 2012Funding Recipient:Since mitigation effort began, has a disaster tested its value?:NoContact Name:Roger FarisContact Email:firstname.lastname@example.orgCategory/Activity/Project Details:
Vernonia, OR — Vernonia, the remote community of approximately 2,150 people in Oregon, is celebrating the relocation and replacement of its three school facilities. After years of struggling to recover from the 2007 “flood of record”, the worst of 27 flood events in the town’s history, the enormous project to relocate and replace the school facilities is a huge success.
Among the many challenges that followed the flood was the need to replace the heart of their community, the elementary, middle, and high school that served more than 700 students. After an impressive investment of resources, and intense effort by the local communities, Vernonia now has a far brighter outlook. Its beautiful new school buildings are finally relocated out of the floodplain and in full use.
The city of Vernonia has a history of severe, repetitive, highly damaging floods, typically from rain falling on snow in the Nehalem River and Rock Creek watersheds that has led to disaster damage. A major flood event in 1996 reached approximately three feet higher than the 1972 and 1974 floods. Residents and business owners cleaned up and made major efforts to rebuild stronger and safer, elevating many buildings above the floodplain. However, disaster struck again in December of 2007, with an even more catastrophic “flood of record.”
This time, infrastructure and property, including electrical substations, health care buildings, the senior center and many other critical facilities, were severely damaged or destroyed. More than 1,000 homes sustained damage and at least 100 were found to be beyond repair. The final blow came when the wastewater treatment facility was inundated and five feet of sewage-contaminated water poured into the elementary, middle and high school buildings.
Oregonians and the nation provided emergency assistance, including more than one million hours of volunteer aid, but the nearly complete loss of Vernonia’s school system cast an enormous shadow over the future of the community.
The story of recovery and triumph over this disaster involves intense determination and cooperative effort that began in the local community. The challenges were taken up by virtually all of the local leaders, local and regional business owners, and countless volunteers.
Oregon’s governor appointed an Oregon Solutions Task Force of 36 agencies and organizations, and more than 50 individuals, to identify funding sources for a renewed school system, and to develop a plan. Their responsibility was to involve the community through a fair, open, and participatory process that would earn the support of the whole community.
After researching a variety of alternatives, the community agreed to build an entirely new K-12 campus and community center. The discussions led to the decision to locate the new facilities on higher ground that was partly occupied by Spencer Park. After demolition of the old school buildings, the plan specified that the park would be re-established at the flood-prone school property.
A daunting challenge was the need to raise an estimated $40 million to accomplish the ambitious goal. The search for financial resources would include potential State of Oregon contributions. One of the many successes was a $3.8 million Oregon Department of Transportation grant.
The largest sources of funding for the school project, and for many other elements of Vernonia’s overall disaster recovery, were made possible by the coordination and collaboration of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). These agencies were able to provide approximately $20 million in FEMA Flood Mitigation Assistance and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds, along with many additional millions of dollars through the Public Assistance infrastructure Repair funding, and Individual Assistance Programs.
Other federal agencies, including the Department of Energy, also helped make it possible to invest in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum rated “state of the art” buildings. The energy-efficient, durable and sustainable new facilities are now compatible with the ambitious educational program goals of the Vernonia school district. A major foundation challenge grant was matched by corporate, small business, foundation, and individual contributions from all over the state.
In a critical 2009 vote, despite severe blows to the local economy from the flood and a more general recession, voters in Columbia County and Washington County who live within the Vernonia School District voted to approve a $13 million school construction bond measure. In addition, the school district secured a $5.6 million long term, low-interest loan.
At a recent celebration of the completed school replacement project, donors and supporters who were responsible for achieving the ambitious goals were honored for their dedication. The superintendent of Vernonia schools summarized the spirit and motivation that brought success.
“We came together for a common purpose: Not just to build a school, but to strengthen the community,” said Vernonia School Superintendent.
Vernonia is an example of a resilient community, where people work together to anticipate and address future conditions and challenges. Investing in hazard mitigation can break the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction and repeated damage.Is this a County-wide Project?:County/Counties:ColumbiaOngoing:City:VernoniaIs this a Repetitive Loss Property?:YesSummary Documents:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:Hazard Images:Title:New school and community center facilitiesShort Description:New school and community center facilitiesPhotographer Name:Roger FarisFile Upload:Title:Overhead to underground power transmission projectShort Description:Overhead to underground power transmission projectPhotographer Name:Roger FarisFile Upload:Title:https://www.llis.dhs.gov/content/vernonias-whole-community-working-resilient-future-0Short Description:https://www.llis.dhs.gov/content/vernonias-whole-community-working-resilient-future-0Photographer Name:Roger FarisFile Upload:
- Region IV CAP-SSSE Funding Methodology: How a New Approach Produced Better Results: Fri, 20 Dec 2013 15:05:11 +0000 - State:GASector:PublicActivity/Project Date:Saturday, October 1, 2011Funding:Funding Recipient:Since mitigation effort began, has a disaster tested its value?:UnknownContact Name:Jason O. HunterContact Phone:770.220.5471Contact Email:email@example.comCategory/Activity/Project Details:
The Community Assistance Program, State Support Services Element (CAP-SSSE) Cooperative Agreement, is a funding mechanism that supports States’ floodplain management efforts and flood reduction measures through local communities’ participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Administered by the Floodplain Management and Insurance (FMI) Branches of each one of the ten FEMA Regional Offices, CAP-SSSE currently disperses an annual total amount of $10.4 million nationally. Some of the CAP-SSSE fundable activities conducted by the State partners are Community Assistance Visits (CAVs), Community Assistance Contacts (CACs), floodplain management ordinance reviews, training, and the provision of technical assistance.
Prior to the application process in fiscal year 2011, FEMA Region IV’s FMI Branch identified a need to establish a more equitable, transparent funding process for State partners in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee to apply for CAP-SSSE funding. This need was identified due to previous negotiated funding levels that were not always commensurate to the floodplain management activities conducted. Beginning with fiscal year 2011 funding, nine core activities were identified and assigned negotiated work hours based on what would take to complete each activity (i.e.; 180 work hours for completion of a CAV). Those core activities are: enrollment of NFIP non-participating communities, CAVs, CACs-visits, CACs-phone, ordinance adoption associated with remapping, floodplain management courses, training and education, general technical assistance, and professional development. An hourly rate was assigned to each State based on the average hourly salary for state personnel conducting the CAP-SSSE activities. As a result, the following formula was developed:
(Work Hours per Activity)x(Quantity of Activity)x(Hourly Rate)= Funding Level per Activity
This formula was then applied to each one of the nine core activities to develop the total annual funding level for each State.
As a result of this newly-instituted Best Practice, State partners now have a more clearly-defined, transparent guidance prior to submittal of their annual CAP-SSSE Scope of Works, which provides an idea of their annual funding level based on their proposed activities. The development of this new funding allocation methodology has saved the federal government more than $550,000.These funds have been returned to FEMA Headquarters for reallocation. The reallocated funds have been used for purposes such as redistribution to States in other FEMA Regions, funding for upgrade and maintenance to the NFIP’s Community Information System (CIS), and return of funds into the national CAP-SSSE funding pool.Is this a County-wide Project?:County/Counties:Region IV - All 8 StatesOngoing:Is this a Repetitive Loss Property?:NoSummary Documents:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:Hazard Images:
- Mitigation Saves Home and Lifestyle Along Creek: Mon, 16 Dec 2013 18:31:16 +0000 - State:COSector:PrivateCategory/Activity/Project Type:Structure Type:Activity/Project Date:Tuesday, March 13, 2007 to Wednesday, July 16, 2008Funding:Since mitigation effort began, has a disaster tested its value?:YesContact Name:Joyce PriceContact Phone:601-214-8377Contact Email:firstname.lastname@example.orgCategory/Activity/Project Details:
BOULDER, CO – September of 2013 will forever be remembered in Colorado due to the massive flooding that overwhelmed the state. The city of Boulder was one of the hardest hit areas devastated by rainfall.
Mark Schueneman’s home was spared due to the advice that he followed from the emergency manager. That advice was to elevate.
“When choosing a lot to build my house on, I specifically wanted to build near Left Hand Creek,” said Schueneman, a retired concrete contractor. Given his proximity to the floodplain, he was advised to build an additional two feet of freeboard above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) to reduce his risk of flooding. It cost him only a little more to raise his home but the protection was worth it so that he could live in this location.
“I wanted to be near water. My bedroom is 40 feet from the creek and the sound of the water helps me to sleep soundly,” said Schueneman.
Schueneman, the designer and builder, began construction of the 2450-square-foot adobe dwelling in 2007 and completed it in 2008. The house is located in the Crestview Estates Subdivision. A unique feature of the house is that straw bale construction was utilized.
“Straw bale construction is great for insulating homes and it keeps the moisture level down,” said Schueneman. Schueneman is the former Director of the Colorado Straw Bale Association and presently on the Board of Directors.
Another mitigation effort that Schueneman incorporated along with the elevation is a rock barrier surrounding his house designed to ward off wildfires.
“I visited the burn area after the fire of 2011 and several of the homes were spared because the fire stopped at their stone walls,” said Schueneman. He feels that this barrier helped steer water away from his home during the flood.
Schueneman began checking the stream depth gauges at the creek around 12:30 a.m. He checked the creek every 20 to 30 minutes and discovered that it was rising slowly. The creek began to rise faster at approximately 2:30 a.m. He called neighbors and warned them of the impending danger and told them it was time to leave. He moved his cars to higher ground and evacuated for the night. “Left Hand Creek was flooding like crazy and threatening to overtop; I was definitely afraid,” said Schueneman.”
Schueneman remembered the Big Thompson Flood of 1976, which was the deadliest in Colorado history. This dreadful storm claimed the lives of 143 individuals and injured 150. “I know when a storm drops that much water it saturates the ground. The steep canyons are like a funnel and the water siphons to the lower canyon where we are,” Schueneman explained.
When returning the next day he discovered that he could not check on the house due to road closures. He walked along a path and over a hill to get to his property and was relieved to find that his home was above the flood waters.
Schueneman observed that the five steps leading to the home were still in place. The water had come up three of the steps but had not gone any higher. It was an unexpected and pleasant surprise.
He saw plenty of damage at his neighbors’ homes. One of the neighbors lost the foundation of his house; another neighbor’s furnace was severely damage. There was damage throughout the neighborhood.
This flooding event has been Schueneman’s only experience with flooding threating his property since he built near the creek. He is pleased with the performance of the elevation and other mitigation techniques at his home.Is this a County-wide Project?:County/Counties:BoulderOngoing:City:BoulderIs this a Repetitive Loss Property?:NoSummary Documents:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:Hazard Images:Title:Entrance to Schueneman's Elevated HouseShort Description:Schueneman's elevated house escaped flood waters during historic flood of September, 2013File Upload:Title:House surrounded by barrierShort Description:Mark Schueneman's elevated house is surrounded by brick barrier that redirected water
- Cottonwood Creek Restoration and Stabilization Project: Fri, 13 Dec 2013 22:43:48 +0000 - State:COSector:PublicActivity/Project Date:Monday, January 3, 2011Activity/Project Cost Amount:$4.3millionSince mitigation effort began, has a disaster tested its value?:UnknownContact Name:Bonnie HanchettContact Phone:337-200-0658Contact Email:Bonnie.Hanchett@fema.dhs.govCategory/Activity/Project Details:
EL PASO COUNTY, CO – Critical infrastructure in Colorado Springs was threatened due to excessive erosion of a section within the Cottonwood Creek Channel.
In some areas the channel banks were compromised resulting in slope failure and causing excessive lateral movement of the channel.
Threatened were two arch culverts below an old railroad bridge, a sanitary sewer line, and a Century Link telecommunications facility that provides services to include emergency 911. The telecommunication lines are critical to the Colorado Springs community and have an estimated replacement value over $10 million.
The city decided to initiate a restoration and stabilization project to eliminate this threat caused by unchecked erosion. Frequent storms, including low volume storms and the presence of highly erosive soils, had contributed to excessive erosion along the project site.
Without the stabilization of Cottonwood Creek, the creek bank, as well as upstream and downstream infrastructure, would have continued to be compromised. The existing creek bank had eroded to near vertical conditions and was unstable in its current condition.
Before the project could move forward there were special circumstances with the Old Railroad Bridge and the Vincent Drive Bridge, both of which are on the National Register of Historic Places, that needed consideration. The Old Railroad Bridge is a massive two-span masonry arch structure constructed in 1887 that supports a 10-foot deep fill that once carried a track of the Santa Fe Railroad. Additionally, the proposed project was located along a reach of the creek that was neither owned nor maintained by the city. However, the city had made more than $98,000 in improvements to the Vincent Drive Bridge piers due to the degrading channel floor. The bridge is immediately downstream of the project area.
In 2011, Colorado Springs applied for funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Program to address the bank stability and the privately-owned telecommunications facility. The project will also protect the exposed sanitary sewer line and provide critical stream floor stabilization.
Prior to funding the project, FEMA required an Environmental Assessment (EA) to meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. This process is used to determine if significant environmental impacts would occur as a result of the work. It also provides the public an opportunity for involvement in the decision-making process.
The total cost of the proposed mitigation project was $4.3 million. FEMA’s grant was $3 million, one of only three projects nationwide selected for the maximum. Non-federal share was $1.32 million. The project repaired the extensive channel bank erosion adjacent to the Century Link 911/FAA communication lines and reduced future degradation to upstream and downstream infrastructure.
Improvements included the construction of concrete structures to slow the flow of water through the creek and stabilization of the channel floor to prevent erosion around the Old Railroad Bridge piers and buried utilities. For additional support, concrete was also placed around the piers of the Vincent Drive Bridge. The channel lining and concrete structures were designed to slow the erosive flood waters and protect the channel floor and slopes.
The project was a cooperative effort between the city of Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs Utilities, and the affected property owners and their engineers. The City of Colorado Springs Engineering and Street Divisions were responsible for overall project administration, project design, and construction management.
Cottonwood Creek is a tributary of the Fountain Creek Watershed. One of the goals of the Fountain Creek Corridor Master Plan is to improve water quality and watershed health by reducing erosion, sedimentation, and flooding. By slowing the flood waters and limiting erosion within Cottonwood Creek, it minimizes the damages to downstream infrastructure due to a reduction of sediment transport in flood waters.
Specifically, the design provides:
• Protection for critical utilities including Century Link’s 911/FAA communication lines;
• Emergency access via a maintenance trail along this segment of the creek that can also serve as a regional trail connection;
• Concrete structures that slow the flow of water through the creek, stabilize the bottom of the channel and prevent future erosion around the bridge piers; and
• Concrete lining on the bottom of arch culverts to channel bank riprap lining and side slope stabilization.
For additional information, visit:
• http://www.springsgov.com; and
• http://www.fema.gov/environmental-planning-and-historic-preservation-pro...Is this a County-wide Project?:County/Counties:El PasoOngoing:City:Colorado SpringsIs this a Repetitive Loss Property?:NoSummary Documents:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:Hazard Images:Title:Sloping BanksShort Description:This project recreated gently sloping banks stabilized with gtanite bouldersPhotographer Name:Bonnie HanchettFile Upload:Title:Old Railroad BridgeShort Description:The Old Railroad Bridge is now protected with well-designed mitigation techniquesFile Upload:Title:125 year old Vincent BridgeShort Description:The 125 year old Vincent Bridge is on the National Registry of Historic PlacesFile Upload:
- City of Arvada Attributes Successful Mitigation to Cooperative Efforts: Fri, 13 Dec 2013 21:33:59 +0000 - State:COSector:PublicActivity/Project Date:Thursday, January 1, 1970Activity/Project Cost Amount:$35millionSince mitigation effort began, has a disaster tested its value?:UnknownContact Name:Bonnie HanchettContact Phone:337-200-0658Contact Email:Bonnie.Hanchett@fema.dhs.govCategory/Activity/Project Details:
JEFFERSON COUNTY, CO – Arvada City Officials have been working together on mitigation projects that have paid off for the community.
“It is really the work of all these folks – our engineers, city planner, city managers, public works director, stormwater manager, and parks and recreation director, working together on a common goal – to protect lives and property,” said Patrick Douherty, city engineer. “We have also collaborated with other agencies and neighboring cities.”
Dating back to the early 1970’s, Arvada was one of the first cities in the United States to begin flood flow attenuation and to manage development in the floodplain. Projects included small channelization, bridge replacements, large storm sewers, and regional detention.
Funding for these projects came out of the city’s General Fund-Capital Improvement Projects. In 2000, a stormwater utility was funded. Through the stormwater utility, the city has been able to fund more mitigation projects.
“We certainly have significant projects that are the showcase, but it is numerous activities (what people would call mundane or ordinary) – year after year upkeep, collaboration, replacements, improvements, and modifications – taken in its totality, that make mitigation work,” Douherty said. “As a group, we take on the responsibility of assuring that our projects work effectively.”
As of 2013, Arvada has spent more than $35 million (funding from local sources) on various projects throughout the city. Projects have been as small as putting in a more efficient inlet to major channelization projects. Small projects to eliminate localized flooding have cost the city $4.2 million.
One of the city’s major projects was the rehabilitation of Leyden Dam, a stormwater control facility. It was rehabilitated in 2001 and put to the test in September 2013 when record flooding wreaked havoc. The dam filled up, minimizing damages to homes and businesses.
Another project requiring a major collaborative effort was the Ralston Creek Drainage-Garrison Street Bridge Project. It had been included in the city plans for years as a part of the city’s commitment to remove properties from the FEMA designated 100-year floodplain.
Approximately 93 homes were no longer categorized as being within the designated floodplain because the reconfigured park included the anticipated Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). The water flows within the park itself, instead of flooding into the adjoining neighborhood.
Other projects that kept Arvada virtually unscathed by the September 2013 flooding included:
• Continuous cleanup of debris in channels;
• Regular maintenance of stormwater drains;
• Well flowing sewer system;
• Global Positioning System (GPS) database on all manageable valve boxes and culverts;
• Development and updates on Master Drainage Plan; and
• Additional drainage projects, as a result of lessons learned from minor flooding, such as localized street flooding.
The city continues to be proactive in identifying risks. As a group, city officials meet regularly to reflect on problems encountered within each division and to identify issues and remediation (including projects). All projects are prioritized and preliminary plans as well as bids for each project are reviewed by the group.
“We meet and we have these discussions,” said Vicky Reier, assistant city manager. “We discuss the project to determine what makes sense, its cost-effectiveness, components of the project and its execution. Planning is also paramount for us.”
The NFIP’s CRS is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements.
As a result, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community actions, which meets the three goals of the CRS:
1. Reduce flood damage to insurable property;
2. Strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the NFIP; and
3. Encourage a comprehensive approach to floodplain management.
Arvada is striving to preserve and enhance existing residential and commercial areas to live and shop, as well as to provide a quality environment for its citizens. In accomplishing this mission, the city is ensuring:
• the regulation of nuisance Codes and Zoning Ordinances;
• the development and implementation of the standards for street construction, utility work and stormwater drainage on all projects in the city;
• the planning, maintaining and improving of its infrastructure;
• quality stormwater management practices;
• maintained and monitored floodplain regulations; and
• a rich array of natural, historic and cultural resources.
For additional information, visit:
• www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program-community-rating-system.Is this a County-wide Project?:County/Counties:LarimerOngoing:City:ArvadaIs this a Repetitive Loss Property?:NoSummary Documents:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:Hazard Images:Title:Leyden Dam following its rehabilitation in 2001Long Description:A photo of Leyden Dam following its rehabilitation in 2001Photographer Name:Bonnie HanchettFile Upload:Title:Garrison Street ParkShort Description:A photo of Garrison Street ParkLong Description:The Garrison Street Park was constructed as a part of the Ralston Street Drainage-Garrison Street Bridge Project which contributed to 93 homes no longer characterized as being in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)File Upload:Title:Leyton Dam constructed in 1909File Upload:
- Educating Fort Collins Residents before the Flood: Fri, 13 Dec 2013 21:03:27 +0000 - State:COSector:PublicCategory/Activity/Project Type:Activity/Project Date:Monday, July 1, 2013Since mitigation effort began, has a disaster tested its value?:UnknownContact Name:Joyce PriceContact Phone:601-214-8377Contact Email:Joyce.Price@fema.dhs.govCategory/Activity/Project Details:
Larimer County, CO ̵ Frequent flooding events have plagued Fort Collins over the decades, disrupting lives and destroying property. The 1997 flood resulted in five deaths, destruction of 120 mobile homes and damages to more than 2,000 homes and businesses.
Due to the frequency and magnitude of the flooding over the years, the city launched a Community Education and Outreach Program (CEO) designed to inform as well as prepare its citizens for flooding events. This program helped the community prepare for the more recent September 2013 flood.
Launching Flood Awareness Week, Floods Happen in Fort Collins is one part of CEO that focuses on educating the community about the reality of floods and how to minimize loss. This event provides information on what citizens can do to protect themselves, their family and property, including the possible need for flood insurance.
During the week, informational displays will be featured at libraries, community centers, city hall, museums, and so forth. Brochures and written materials, including flood hazard data, emergency preparedness tips, as well as other safety information, will be sent to all floodplain residents and property owners. Six flood-safety videos will be shown on the city-operated cable channel 14 throughout the month of July.
A second phase of the Outreach Program focuses on educating students about flooding. The stormwater utility has teamed up with the Natural Areas Department to create Red Fox Meadows, a natural space located in a flood zone, where kids can explore and learn.
Creating the natural area in the floodplain had several purposes: to provide local flood protection and restore valuable wildlife habitat and to allow students to get hands-on experience.
The natural area is designed with outdoor classrooms where school students can learn about flood preparedness, water quality, storm water management, and other topics. Informational signs located in the natural areas explain Mitigation efforts.
“The city believes that educating students early about the hazards involved with flooding and purposes of mitigation techniques will give them a better understanding of how to protect against floodwaters in the future,” said Marsha Hilmes-Robinson, Floodplain Manager for Fort Collins Utilities.
Another component of their education and outreach program is to keep residents informed about the local stream flow levels and precipitation amounts. The Utilities Department operates a flood warning system with 66 gauges located throughout the Fort Collins area. When the gauges exceed a set level, Utilities and Office of Emergency Management personnel are notified and take action. The warning system allows residents to view real time data, as well as floodplain maps on their iPhone, Android, and Windows smartphones.
To further increase safety, all Larimer County residents are encouraged to sign up for free emergency notifications on landlines, business phones and cell phones, and via text and email messages at leta911.org/. Another option is to follow the City’s various social media updates.
Additional flood protection information is available from the following websites:
• Fcgov.com/stormwaterIs this a County-wide Project?:County/Counties:LarimerOngoing:City:Fort CollinsIs this a Repetitive Loss Property?:NoSummary Documents:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:Hazard Images:Title:Display located in the lobby of Fort Collins Utilities BuildingShort Description:A display detailing outreach efforts is located in the lobby of Fort Collins Utilities Building where visitors to the city may viewPhotographer Name:Joyce PriceFile Upload:Title:Display at entrance of natural areaShort Description:Dhisplay is located at entrance of natural area explaining mitigation effortsPhotographer Name:Joyce PriceFile Upload:
- Repetitive Flood Claims Program Benefits City and Homeowners: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 21:25:30 +0000 - State:COSector:PublicCategory/Activity/Project Type:Activity/Project Date:Sunday, September 11, 2011Funding:Activity/Project Cost Amount:$178,500Since mitigation effort began, has a disaster tested its value?:YesContact Name:Joyce B. PriceContact Phone:601-214-8377Contact Email:Joyce.Price@fema.dhs.govCategory/Activity/Project Details:
CANON CITY, CO – Cañon City officials completed an acquisition project after being motivated by a home that was subject to frequent flooding.
The 2011 acquisition was funded by FEMA’s repetitive flood claims program.
Property acquisition can be a cost-effective and long-term solution for community floodplain managers and owners of flood-prone properties. The house that previously stood on the now empty lot was subjected to flooding not long after it was built. For decades, flooding of the Cañon City home continued after almost every rain storm.
Although this lot is not within a mapped special flood hazard area, the lot was still subjected to flooding because of new subdivision development and the elevation at which it was constructed at the regional confluence of storm water runoff from surrounding areas to the north.
“The way the house was constructed and the way the layout of the subdivision existed, the house would flood during fairly small floods of only one or two inches,” said Adam Lancaster, city engineer for Cañon City. “Through the years, the city received many complaints about the flooding problem as the house went through different owners.”
National Flood Insurance Program claims were paid to different owners in 1996, 2000 and 2009.
Owners often suffered flooding losses when they were not insured. When the most recent property owner approached Lancaster about the flooding dilemma, the city engineer wanted to help. Because of his position with the city, Lancaster was well aware of the location’s flooding problems. Lancaster also had knowledge about a FEMA mitigation grant program that was available to assist homeowners with repetitive flood claims.
Hoping to acquire the property, Lancaster put together an application for a grant from FEMA’s repetitive flood plains program. He saw this as an opportunity for the owners to recoup some of their investment in the house.
The goal of the repetitive flood claims program was to provide funding to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk of flood damage to structures insured under the National Flood Insurance Program.
The first and foremost objective was to protect the family members and their belongings from flooding. Second was to protect the family from additional financial loss from flood damages. These objectives could be accomplished by purchasing the property and enabling the owners to relocate.
The next objective was to protect third parties such as the city, future property investors, and the National Insurance Flood Program from additional financial loss or liability by eliminating the structures on the site. The fourth objective was to reduce the flood impact to the site and the surrounding neighborhood by creating an open space that can be inundated periodically to mitigate the storm water flows.
The city submitted an application in December 2010 to acquire the property and everyone was pleased when the application was approved the next September. The city received a grant of more than $178,500 to purchase the property.
As a result, the property was bought out, demolished and is now a green space filled with natural grasses and wildflowers.
There is a sign on the lot that explains the flood mitigation project and the history of the now open space.
“Knowing the history of flooding events at this location during even small floods, the house would have surely flooded during this year’s September flooding,” said Lancaster. Instead water flowed into the green space where the house once stood.
The repetitive flood plains program has been discontinued but funds are available through other FEMA hazard mitigation assistance programs to mitigate for repetitive loss structures. The project has the distinction of being the only repetitive flood plains project awarded in FEMA Region 8 during the life of the program.
For additional information, visit: http://www.fema.gov/repetitive-flood-claims-program.Is this a County-wide Project?:County/Counties:FremontOngoing:City:CanonIs this a Repetitive Loss Property?:UnknownSummary Documents:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:I certify rights and/or ownership of this document:Hazard Images:Title:Hoouse that experienced repetitive floodingShort Description:House experienced repetitive flooding before acquisitionFile Upload:Title:Photo of Green Space where house once stoodFile Upload:Title:Damage to family room, flooring and wallsShort Description:damage to room is shown as a result of a flooding eventFile Upload: