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WATER MARK The Newsletter of the Floodplain Management Association February 2019 - Volume 29, Issue 1 Mission: To promote the common interest in reducing flood losses and to encourage the protection and enhancement of natural floodplain values.

George Booth- Chair Sacramento County Boothg@saccounty.net 916-874-6484

Vince Geronimo - Director Mead & Hunt geronimope@gmail.com (510) 893 3600

Eric Simmons - Advisor FEMA Region IX Eric.Simmons@fema.dhs.gov 510-627-7029

Alex Yescas – Vice Chair HDR Engineering, Inc. Alex.yescas@hdrinc.com 858-712-8283

Brian Brown - Director MBK Engineers brown@mbkengineers.com 916-456-4400

Carol Tyau-Beam - Advisor Hawaii DLNR Carol.L.Tyau@hawaii.gov 808-587-0267

Darren Suen – Director California DWR Darren.Suen@water.ca.gov 916-574-0653

Bunny Bishop – Advisor Nevada DWR 775-684-2834 bbishop@water.nv.gov

John Powderly - Director powderly@yahoo.com

Dianna Woods - Advisor ASFPM Dianna.Woods@co.yakima.wa.us 509-574-2328

Maria Lorenzo-Lee – Secretary California DWR Maria.Lorenzo-Lee@water.ca.gov 916-574-0625 Mike Nowlan - Treasurer Wood Rodgers, Inc. MNowlan@woodrodgers.com 916-326-5277 Abigayle Mayrena - Director Clark County RFCD AMayrena@regionalflood.org 702-685-0000

Mark Seits – Past Chair HDR Engineering, Inc. Mark.Seits@hdrinc.com 858-712-8312

Connie Perkins - Director City of Sacramento CPerkins@cityofsacramento.org 916-808-1914

David Pesavento - Advisor California DWR David.Pesavento@water.ca.gov 916-574-0625

Brent Siemer – Director City of Simi Valley, DPW BSiemer@simivalley.org 805-583-6805

Salomon Miranda - Advisor California DWR Salomon.Miranda@water.ca.gov 818-549-2347

John Moynier – Director Michael Baker International John.moynier@mbakerintl.com 949-855-5759

Alan Haynes - Advisor NOAA Alan.haynes@noaa.gov 916-979-3056


Mary Seits - Executive Director Floodplain Management Association mary.seits@floodplain.org (760) 936-3676



A Note From The Chair


Federal/ National News


State News


Meet the Board


Call for Articles


2019 FMA Challenge Modeling


Changing Climate, Changing Standards of Care?



A NOTE FROM THE CHAIR By George Booth In the second week of 2019, the Board of Directors attended a two-day Retreat at a top-secret location at or near Rancho Cordova, CA; we should only refer to it as the "Board Retreat". Blackhawk helicopters arrive every two years, or so, so the Board can spend time setting goals and strategically planning for the next several years. In addition, it counts as one of our required quarterly meetings, thus killing two birds with one meeting. There were 20 attendees including voting Board members, past-past chairs (people not furniture), and advisors (agencies). The top-secret 2019 Board Retreat was interesting, productive, and we ate constantly. Using the SOAR model - strengths, opportunities, aspirations and results (Stavros and Hinrichs) – we broke into four teams for discussion. As we patted ourselves on the back for how far we have come and we recognized how great FMA volunteers are, we are compelled to do more as we plan forward.

FMA is a unique opportunity to network with local, state, federal agencies and consultants and venders. I remember 21 years ago; I was a younger, head strong, enthusiastic engineer who had done quite a lot in my career already. Suddenly, I found myself in a brand new assignment, floodplain management. It was so good to find FMA and ASFPM where I could meet people socially and reach out to them later for help on various things that would come up. Associating is very important to FMA members. We all have a story. Most of us did not say at age 12, ‘I want to be a floodplain manager when I grow up.’ Yet, here we are, in love with the mission, and fascinated by the science and the engineering. We want to hear your story, in person or in this newsletter. So, here’s to associating! Cheers! George Booth, Chair

Zig Ziglar said, “A goal properly set is halfway reached.” FMA was founded, in 1990, with the interest to help local floodplain managers reduce flood risk. It is now a recognized forum for education and collaboration. Looking forward, we see great opportunities to increase associating opportunities using technology, while continuing to growth of face-to-face functions such as luncheons, training, field trips, symposiums, and conferences. Of course, the annual conference is a big part of what FMA does and its attendance has grown at a nice pace each year. We were pleased to see about six dozen new faces from Nevada at the Reno Conference in 2018. We are excited for the September 2019 conference, as we return to San Diego. Some of you may recall the last time we were there, the power went out in the southwestern corner of the nation (search the www for great blackout of 2011). So, in that light, we are planning the 2019 conference around the theme KNOWLEDGE, bright new ideas, and we hope to have some real light bulb moments. We might even have souvenir commemorative glow-sticks! At the Board Retreat, we talked about how FMA seeks to improve flood safety and maximize floodplain resources through effective dialogue, collaboration, education, legislation and policy. One great thing the Board did, a few years ago, is merge with the Extreme Precipitation Symposium. This kicked open the door for associating with climate science community. We will be looking for more such opportunities.


SAVE THE DATE Floodplain Management Association Annual Conference September 3-6, 2019 Sheraton Hotel & Marina – San Diego, CA California Extreme Precipitation Symposium The Impacts of Global Warming on California – A 30-Year Retrospective and Future Predictions June 25, 2019 ARC Conference Center, University of California, Davis MORE INFORMATION

Southwest Extreme Precipitation Symposium Complexities of Flood and Water Resource Predictability in Southwest U.S. March 27, 2019 Scripps Seaside Forum – Scripps Institute of Oceanography MORE INFORMATION



For an update of the latest disaster declarations CLICK HERE

For information on Flood Insurance Reform – Rates and Refunds CLICK HERE


STATE NEWS California 1. Below Average Precipitation for Water Year 2018 A new water year began Oct. 1 and Californians are eyeing the weather forecasts to see what kind of year it will be. Despite below-average precipitation in water year 2018, most California reservoirs are storing near- or above-average levels of water heading into the 2019 water year. MORE INFORMATION

2. DWR Breaks Ground on Dutch Slough Tidal Restoration Project The Department of Water Resources (DWR), along with state and local partners, celebrated the groundbreaking of the Delta’s largest tidal wetlands restoration project. MORE INFORMATION

3. Lake Perris Trail Opens as Reservoir Nears Full Capacity The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) completed a major riparian restoration project and opened three miles of a multi-use trail near the east end of Lake Perris in Riverside County. MORE INFORMATION

4. 2018 Wildfires Increase Risk of Flooding The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) urges Californians to be proactive and prepare for flooding before the winter storm season begins November 1. MORE INFORMATION

5. DWR Meets Nov. 1 Public Safety Milestone The Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced it has met its goal of completely reconstructing the main spillway at Oroville Dam by Nov. 1 to be prepared for the upcoming winter. The newly constructed spillway is now built to its original design capacity of 270,000 cubic feet per second. MORE INFORMATION FMA NEWS

6. Initial State Water Project Allocation at 10 Percent The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced an initial water allocation of 10 percent for the State Water Project (SWP) contractors for the 2019 calendar year. MORE INFORMATION

7. Draft Groundwater Basin Boundary Modifications Announced The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has announced draft decisions for groundwater basin boundary modification requests submitted by local agencies as part of the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Basins boundaries were previously updated in 2016. MORE INFORMATION

8. State Agencies Outline Comprehensive Plan to Improve River Flows for Fisheries California Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth and California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton H. Bonham issued the following statement regarding voluntary agreements outlined in conjunction with the State Water Resources Control Board’s hearing on the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan update. MORE INFORMATION

9. State and Federal Government Collaborate to Manage California’s Water Supply Under New Challenges The Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the Bureau of Reclamation reached agreement on updating how the State Water Project (SWP) and Central Valley Water Project (CVP) are operated to meet environmental regulations. MORE INFORMATION


10. DWR Launching Salton Sea Habitat Enhancement Project

12. Early Winter Storms Produce Sierra Snow, But Water Content Remains Below Average

In a key step toward stemming one of the state’s most significant public health and ecological challenges, DWR released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a large-scale, multimilliondollar project at the southern end of the Salton Sea.

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) conducted the first Phillips Station snow survey of 2019 on Jan. 3. MORE INFORMATION


13. DWR Finalizes Basin Prioritizations under SGMA

11. DWR Releases Draft California Water Plan Update 2018 For Public Review

DWR announced final basin prioritization for the majority of groundwater basins in the state as required under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

DWR released the Public Review Draft of the California Water Plan Update 2018. The revised plan outlines a path for new or modernized infrastructure, restored ecosystems, efficient regulation, cooperation across water management sectors, and greater return on investment. MORE INFORMATION


14. Report of the Activities of DWR to the Central Valley Flood Protection Board: OCTOBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER




Nevada Training: The Floodplain Management Program for the Nevada Division of Water Resources is offering training opportunities on March 13 & 14, 2019 in Las Vegas, NV. A Floodplain Management Review training, based on the California Department of Water Resources course, will be offered on March 13, 2019. FEMA Elevation Certificate training will be presented on March 14, 2019. These two full-day workshops will review floodplain management concepts, practices, and regulations and are intended as an enhancement for those individuals preparing for the CFM exam or as a refresher for CFMs. MORE INFORMATION

The Floodplain Management Program for the Nevada Division of Water Resources is offering the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) Certified Floodplain Managers (CFMŽ) Exam in Las Vegas, NV on Thursday March 21, 2019. For more information visit NevadaFloods.org. The CFM examination is a patented certification by the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) focused primarily on FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program. If you wish to take the CFM examination, you must register separately with ASFPM HERE at least 3 weeks prior to the examination (fees apply). The Nevada Silver Jackets Team is currently planning two Nevada Flood After Fire Workshops. One of these workshops will be held in Elko, NV on April 30, 2019 and the other will be held in Reno, NV on May 1, 2019. These workshops are being organized to assist Nevada communities who were impacted by wildfires by providing tools and information about mitigation and recovery for flood after fire risks. MORE INFORMATION




MEET THE BOARD Eric Simmons is with the Mitigation Division of FEMA Region IX in Oakland, CA. Mr. Simmons joined the FMA Board in 2006 as an Advisor providing critical information regarding FEMA’s role in floodplain management. His work focuses on the reduction of flood losses to people and the environment due to unwise floodplain development. Flood hazard mapping and other risk analysis work is the primary method of accomplishing this goal. His responsibilities include leading flood map projects and program management for mitigation activities in California and the Pacific involving

digital map production, needs assessment for new hazard analyses, risk communication, and training on a variety of floodplain management topics. Since joining FEMA in 2005, Mr. Simmons has also supported disaster recovery operations including the Katrina and Sandy disasters. He graduated with a bachelor and masters in civil engineering. Eric, his wife Elaine, and daughter Sofia reside in Walnut Creek. Eric has been an Advisor to the FMA Board since 2006, providing critical information regarding FEMA’s role in floodplain management.





CALL FOR ARTICLES! The FMA Newsletter welcomes the input of its members and now our extended family of readership to contribute to the conversation! The beginning of 2019 is almost over but keep the great articles coming! We need to hear from all of you. There’s always room for more to join the ranks of published authors. Showcase your programs, projects, tools, policies, regulations or ideas to hundreds of floodplain management professionals throughout the U.S.! Articles must be submitted in Word format to Mary.Seits@Floodplain.org and may contain 2-3 small pictures. Preferred length is less than 850 words.

For more details call (760) 936-3676.

Tory r. Walker engineering r e l i a b l e s o l u T i o n s i n WaT e r r e s o u r c e s

Building Trust through

RELIABLE SOLUTIONS: • Watershed Management • Floodplain Management • Storm Water Management • River Restoration • Flood Facilities Design • Sedimentation and Erosion





The purpose of FMA Challenge Modeling is to test the marriage of the modeler, the software and the computer environment, to better understand the variety of decision making processes, and consequences of those decisions to variations in the modeling and floodplain mapping results, and the effort required to complete a task. FMA does not intend Challenge Modeling to be a benchmark for software accuracy, we leave that testing to others.

Four data sets are currently being prepared by the FMA Modeling and Mapping Committee for this season’s Challenge Models. The challenge modelers will be provided Virtual Environments to complete their work within, and most of the software they will need will already be installed with temporary full use licensing issued from the software vendors (FMA is VERY grateful to those software vendors who are participating! A list will be issued soon).

The FMA Challenge Models were last issued in 2012 (see documentation posted HERE )

The Challenge models will be issued in March of 2019, and will conclude May 31, 2019. The results of the Challenge Modeling efforts will be presented at the FMA 2019 Conference in San Diego California.

Significant changes to the technology, software and industry have occurred since that time. FMA intends to issue completely new Challenge Modeling based on the following subjects:

Early Registration for Challenge Modeling Teams can occur via the form posted HERE. There are NO fees to participate. FMA will initially be limiting participation to 70 teams.

• What area of a stream should be preserved from impacts, and what are the potential consequences • Real Time Flood Forecasting of Local Stream/ Systems • A foreign (non-US) based Riverine Analysis • An Urban Development Area in an Alluvial system. • Ensemble or Monte Carlo Simulation. • Coastal Analysis • Climate Change impacts to flooding extents/ elevations




Randy Lewis This article was adapted and provided by the design professional unit of AXA XL. AXA XL is a division of AXA Group providing products and services through four business groups: AXA XL Insurance, AXA XL Reinsurance, AXA XL Art & Lifestyle and AXA XL Risk Consulting.

As extreme weather events hit more frequently, many observers believe their impact may affect the standard of care for design professionals. Last fall, an analysis by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) showed that significantly higher rainfall in parts of Texas are redefining 100-year events as 25-year events. The NOAA Texas analysis is expected to result in updated Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood plain maps and revised building codes and regulations in that state.

But what about elsewhere? When maps and codes have yet to catch up to the new reality, what are a design professional’s obligations? Professionals should expect a growing number of lawsuits against A/Es from clients who claim that their projects should have been able to withstand foreseeable extreme weather events. It’s possible that knowledge of climate change impacts could be used to establish a legal duty. If a client claims you were negligent because the structure you designed didn’t withstand a 500-year flood, the client’s attorney may argue that you based your design on maps you knew—or should have known—were out of date, given climate projections. And it’s conceivable that some judge or jury would agree. In a recent study, architects and engineers reported that although they recognized that climate change will impact their responsibilities, some are reluctant to raise the issue with their clients. (See the sidebar, “Resources.”)

Santa Ana River

Engineering Construction Environmental Architecture

© 2010 Google

Planning for tomorrow’s peace of mind. Atkins works closely with floodplain managers to proactively plan and implement effective solutions. Our expertise in program management, floodplain mapping, hydrology and hydraulics, flood control, structure design and review, and data management for water resources allow communities to feel safe from flooding and confident that levees offer optimal protection.

We are Atkins. What can we do for you today?


FMA NEWS 858.514.1032


In the U.S., the federal government has sent inconsistent signals. The Fourth National Climate Assessment, released in late 2018, reports that, “the evidence of human-induced climate change continues to strengthen and…impacts of climate change are intensifying across the country.” But President Trump has rescinded executive orders that required the federal government to account for climate change and sea-level rise when building infrastructure and when weighing national security and other issues, although the FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act requires the Department of Defense to implement multiple climate and energy resiliency measures and standards. FEMA’s latest four-year strategic plan deletes mention of climate change and sea-level rise. A changing standard of care? From a risk standpoint, the question is whether the standard of care for the design professions has changed. Most observers believe that it has and will continue to evolve to reflect prevailing scientific understanding, data, media reports and our own experience. Remember, the application of the standard of care is subjective. Also, compliance with code does not necessarily mean that a design satisfies the standard of care. Under some circumstances, merely designing to meet code requirements may still be deemed negligent if the circumstances and the applicable standard of care dictate a design solution that clearly exceeds the code. The moving needle Design professional associations, including the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), are helping to move the standard-of-care needle. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has adopted a policy statement that says, in part: “There is a growing need for engineers to incorporate future climate change into project design criteria.” An ASCE committee has released a manual of practice for climate-resilient infrastructure. ("See Resources"). Certification organizations are also weighing in. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) have released their newest rating system, RELi 2.0, which is intended to help “identify and reduce the risk of damage in the event of a natural disaster, economic disruption, resource depletion or other crisis for buildings, homes, neighborhoods and infrastructure.”


What you can do • Educate your client about the importance of anticipating severe weather events specific to its geographic area. These factors will not only affect planning, design and construction, but also the maintenance and operation of its project. • Do your homework. In addition to researching codes and applicable state and federal regulations, you may need to investigate climate impact maps and models, as well as weather data and projections, to determine if a structure should be designed to anticipate future climate impacts. • Document your recommendations. In the event of a dispute, you must be able to demonstrate you made a reasonable, professional effort to explore the suitability, performance and reliability of your design decisions. • Document any client decisions on those recommendations/options and ask the client to sign off on its ultimate decisions and, if the client opts to ignore your recommendations, request an indemnification. • Carefully review your client contract. Do any clauses require you to design to withstand a certain storm size or other climate risk? (If you agree, and don’t meet those requirements, your client can claim breach of contract, whether or not the client was harmed.) Look, too, at any clauses that pertain to sustainability, resilience or climate change. Your contract should identify and delineate the owner’s objectives, clearly specify the roles and responsibilities of each party assigned to help achieve these goals, and recognize and mitigate the potential liability risks and performance limitations that may result. Your contract should affirmatively state the professional standard of care. In addition, don’t guarantee or warrant that you can attain a specific level of performance for the building. Talk to your attorney about adding appropriate waivers of consequential damages, as well as a limitation of liability and indemnity, and be sure the language is coordinated with any sustainability and green design clauses. (See “Resources.”)


Stay informed. Keep pace with climate change analyses instead of basing your solutions on historic weather information. With the help of your professional association (and your professional liability broker), keep abreast of changes to federal, state, provincial and local codes and regulations as well as applicable court decisions. Resources American Society of Civil Engineers: "ClimateResilient Infrastructure: Adaptive Design and Risk Management," October 2018. LINK Architect: “Rebuild by Design’s Enduring Legacy,” April 2017. LINK

Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and the Boston Green Ribbon Commission: Climate Adaptation and Liability: A Legal Primer and Workshop Summary Report, January 2018. LINK Engineers Canada: National Guideline: Principles of Climate Adaptation and Mitigation for Engineers, May 2018. LINK Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II: Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States, November 2018 LINK

Architect: “The Climate Is Changing. So Must Architecture,” October 2017. LINK

Ideas transform communities At HDR, we’re helping our clients push open the doors to what’s possible, every day.

hdrinc.com FMA NEWS


Have questions or comments about this month's articles? Participate in the discussion on the FMA facebook page!



WATER MARK The Newsletter of the Floodplain Management Association

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The High Water Mark - Volume 29, Issue 1  

The Association newsletter, published online quarterly, includes the latest information on floodplain management policy, tools and practive,...

The High Water Mark - Volume 29, Issue 1  

The Association newsletter, published online quarterly, includes the latest information on floodplain management policy, tools and practive,...

Profile for fmanews