The High Water Mark - Volume 29, Issue 2

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WATER MARK The Newsletter of the Floodplain Management Association February 2019 - Volume 29, Issue 2 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 916-874-6484

Brian Brown - Director MBK Engineers 916-456-4400

Carol Tyau-Beam - Advisor Hawaii DLNR 808-587-0267

Alex Yescas – Vice Chair HDR Engineering, Inc. 858-712-8283

Darren Suen – Director California DWR 916-574-0653

Bunny Bishop – Advisor Nevada DWR 775-684-2834

Connie Perkins – Secretary City of Sacramento 916-808-1914

John Powderly - Director

Dianna Woods - Advisor ASFPM 509-574-2328

Mike Nowlan - Treasurer Wood Rodgers, Inc. 916-326-5277 Abigayle Mayrena - Director Clark County RFCD 702-685-0000

Mark Seits – Past Chair HDR Engineering, Inc. 858-712-8312 David Pesavento - Advisor California DWR 916-574-0625

Brent Siemer – Director City of Simi Valley, DPW 805-583-6805

Salomon Miranda - Advisor California DWR 818-549-2347

John Moynier – Director Michael Baker International 949-855-5759

Alan Haynes - Advisor NOAA 916-979-3056

Vince Geronimo - Director Mead & Hunt (510) 893 3600

Eric Simmons - Advisor FEMA Region IX 510-627-7029


Mary Seits - Executive Director Floodplain Management Association (760) 936-3676 Jeremy Lancaster – Advisor USGS Jeremy.Lancaster@Conservation.Ca.Gov (916) 323-8553 Jose Lara – Advisor CalOES (916) 845-8883



A Note From The Chair


Federal/ National News


State News


Meet the Board


Conference Reminder


Call for Articles


Silver Jackets Information


The Muddy River


Flood Risk Management Symposium Review


Associating is More...



A NOTE FROM THE CHAIR By George Booth For the past three years, the Floodplain Management Association (FMA) conference themes have been spelling out the acronym RISK, the September 2019 conference in San Diego has a theme of ‘Knowledge’. As an association, we have become aware of the fact that there is much wisdom in the room; sadly, many of these wise practitioners will retire someday. How do we impart the knowledge to the next generation? In that light, we have come to realize that the answer is in the third word of our name ‘association’. If we treat this as a noun, we will just keep doing what we have always done; however, if we treat it like a verb ‘to associate’, we can begin to bring others into the clique by relating, linking and connecting. In recent years, FMA has launched committees such as Social Media, Continuing Education, Mapping and Modeling, Coastal Mapping, and Emerging Professionals. These committees are full of energized young professionals and invigorated seasoned mentors. FMA sponsors various classes and training, luncheon workshops, challenge models, and Extreme Precipitation Symposiums. We modernized our newsletter and decided to circulate it to a broad email list of several thousand including planners, emergency managers, public works, weather forecasters, climate science, environmental, and local floodplain managers. We enjoy the education and associating opportunity at our annual conference. We want to find more opportunities to associate throughout the year. It has been exciting to watch FMA grow. Recently, FMA collaborated with the ASFPM Foundation, in Sacramento, putting on a single day symposia on the topics of dam safety, levee safety, and debris flow (e.g. alluvium and burned hillsides). White papers are being prepared for each. We expect these subjects to serve as catalysts to energize more associating into the future. Cheers! George Booth, Chair


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

FEDERAL/NATIONAL NEWS For an update of the latest disaster declarations CLICK HERE

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

Advisor Update • FEMA continues work to update the way flood insurance premiums are determined under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The goal is to more accurately reflect future damages and better inform all on their flood risk. This effort has been unofficially named “Risk Rating 2.0” and is scheduled to begin implementation in October 2020. • All communities participating in the NFIP were sent an awareness letter from FEMA on the Endangered Species Act (ESA). ESA compliance documentation has been required for conditional letter requests since 2010. Cities and counties participating in the NFIP will be expected to maintain ESA compliance documentation for new development. While details are being developed, FEMA’s March 2019 correspondence (COPY HERE) announced that ESA compliance documentation for a letter of map revision (LOMR) or a letter of map revision based on fill (LOMR-F) is going to be needed for future requests. • Brock Long resigned as FEMA Administrator. Peter Gaynor is serving as Acting FEMA Administrator and Jeffrey Byard has been nominated to lead the agency. • FEMA’s application period for FMA and PDM grants in FY 2018 closed with 70 application in Region IX; a total of $395.2 million is available nationwide for these two competitive grant programs. Subapplicants for these grants must have a FEMA approved mitigation plan.


• Federally regulatory agencies issued a new rule effective July 1, 2019, allowing lenders to accept any private flood insurance policy if they believe the policy protects the lender’s investment. This change is a result of the Biggert-Water Act of 2012 and should promote the private flood insurance industry. Increasing the pickup of private insurance is important to FEMA’s goal of doubling the number of homes with flood coverage. • NFIP insurance changes as of April 1, 2019, include an average annual premium increase of 8.2%. Policyholders already paying “full-risk rates” are not impacted by a large increase. FEMA is introducing a 5% Severe Repetitive Loss premium for all policies with this designation. The partial government shutdown delayed FEMA efforts to update the rating of flood insurance under the NFIP but Risk Rating 2.0 work is ongoing. • The FEMA Flood Insurance Advocate released their 2018 annual report. AVAILABLE HERE • The NFIP is currently authorized until May 31, 2019.

FEMA Issues Update to Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping Guidance The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) maintains guidelines and standards to support the Risk Mapping, Assessment and Planning (Risk MAP) Program. These guidelines and standards define the specific implementation of the statutory and regulatory requirements for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). They also outline the performance of Flood Risk Projects, processing of Letters of Map Change (LOMCs), and related Risk MAP activities. MORE INFORMATION


FEDERAL/NATIONAL NEWS FEMA issues updates to the Risk MAP Guidelines and Standards annually. As part of this policy update cycle, FEMA performed routine maintenance and smaller updates driven by specific requests or issues identified. In addition to these smaller updates, there are several significant changes that include: • Updated hydrology guidance to reference updated Bulletin 17C (guidance update only) • Improved Stakeholder Engagement Guidance (SID 621 updated) • Refined our quality review process (checklist updates only) • Superseded the Document Control Procedures Manual (DCPM) (SID 191) • Removed references to Coastal Barrier Resource Area (CBRS) in technical references, guidance and templates FEMA regularly updates these guidance and technical reference documents to ensure ongoing improvements in its flood mapping and risk analysis efforts. The primary location to access Risk MAP standards and guidance is HERE


STATE NEWS California 1. February 11, 2019: DWR Finalizes Groundwater Basin Boundary Modifications under SGMA DWR announced final decisions for groundwater basin boundary modifications requested by local agencies as part of the implementation of the SGMA. Draft results were released in November 2018 and finalized after a public comment period, a public meeting, and a public presentation to the California Water Commission. The final basin boundaries incorporate comments received during this period and resulted in the revision of three of the original draft decisions.


4. March 20, 2019: State Water Project Allocations Increase to 70 Percent Following Strong Winter Storms Following several strong winter storms that brought snowpack and precipitation to above average levels DWR announced it will increase the 2019 State Water Project (SWP) allocation. Most SWP contractors will now receive 70 percent of their requests for the 2019 calendar year, an increase from the 35 percent allocation announced in February. MORE INFORMATION


2. February 28, 2019: Latest Snow Survey Finds Water-Rich Snowpack DWR conducted the third Phillips Station snow survey of 2019. The manual survey recorded 113 inches of snow depth and a snow water equivalent of 43.5 inches, which is more than double what was recorded in January at this location. Statewide, the Sierra Nevada snowpack is 153 percent of average for this date, thanks to several atmospheric rivers during February. MORE INFORMATION

3. March 07, 2019: DWR Responds to FEMA Reimbursement for Oroville Spillways Work DWR received notification that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved $205 million in federal funds to reimburse the state for spillway reconstruction costs related to the 2017 Oroville Dam spillways incident. These funds are in addition to $128.4 million FEMA previously approved for reimbursement for emergency response, debris removal, and other costs. MORE INFORMATION



5. March 26, 2019: DWR Prepares for Potential Use of Oroville’s Main Spillway DWR is closely monitoring Oroville reservoir levels and current forecasts. Due to storms expected in the Feather River basin, DWR is taking steps to prepare for use of the main spillway potentially as early as the first week of April. MORE INFORMATION

Hawaii To provide up-to-date information and to allow for community feedback that floodplain managers can use to better serve the needs of NFIP stakeholders, Hawaii’s Department of Natural Resources (DLNR) has transformed their quarterly newsletter into a weekly blog. If you've enjoyed the old Wai Halana newsletters, don’t worry! ... they are still accessible through the archive tables on the HAWAII NFIP WEBSITE. Don’t be surprised if you see a familiar article on the new blog as past topics may be republished.


Nevada Outreach • Planning for Nevada’s sixth Flood Awareness Week (FAW) is underway. This year’s FAW planning started with a kick-off meeting held in Carson City, NV in March 2019. The meeting was attended by many local, state and federal partners interested in promoting flood awareness in Nevada not only during FAW, but year-round. The goal of FAW is to create flood resilient communities in Nevada and increase flood awareness throughout the state. Flood awareness and preparedness is raised through the coordination of local outreach events, a media campaign, and the NEVADAFLOODS.ORG website.

Training • The Nevada Silver Jackets Team hosted two Nevada Flood After Fire Workshops. One workshop was held in Elko, NV on April 30, 2019 and the other was 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. For more information, including times and locations, visit NEVADAFLOODS.ORG.



MEET THE BOARD Abi Mayrena is part of the Clark County Regional Flood Control District (CCRFCD) in Las Vegas, Nevada, as a Principal Civil Engineer. Abi graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a degree in Civil Engineering and worked at construction firms before moving to Las Vegas in 2000. In 2006, she obtained her Nevada Professional Civil Engineer license and the Certified Floodplain Manager certificate in 2008. Abi worked at several private firms in Las Vegas before joining CCRFCD to review Land Development Technical Drainage Studies and manage small projects. In her current position as a Principal Civil Engineer, she manages Capital Improvement Projects within Unincorporated Clark County’s and City of

Henderson’s jurisdiction, and is involved in the funding, design, construction, and maintenance review of flood control facilities. Current construction projects include Pittman Horizon Ridge and Pittman North Detention Basins in City of Henderson. Current design projects include Fairgrounds, Jim McGaughey and Silverado Ranch Detention Basins and the Tropicana Wash-McCarran Airport Peaking Basin in Clark County. In addition to CIP projects, she also maintains the flood zone database, review and track Conditional/Letter of Map Revision submittals, coordinate with other private and public engineers to meet local and federal criteria for developing in a flood zone and answer citizen inquiries regarding flood zone and flood insurance requirements. In 2018, Abi became an FMA Board of Director and she looks forward to be more involved with FMA activities. She and her husband, Vince, enjoy traveling and when they’re not out town, enjoys her downtime doing yard work.

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

Designer Name: Emma Rodgers Millikan High School Date: 2/27/19 FMA Conference Logo Design


knowledge is power!


keeping the light on floodplains, resilience, planning, and risk reduction!

Floodplain Management Association Annual Conference September 3-6, 2019 The Sheraton Marina, San Diego, CA "Knowledge is Power: Keeping the Lights on Floodplains, Resilience Planning and Risk Reduction"

Click Here to Register Today Discounted Room Rate: $129 Phone: 1-877-734-2726 Book Your Room Here Download the Program at a Glance Read the Preliminary Draft Panel Descriptions Sponsorship Opportunities Click Here to Submit Your Abstract




CALL FOR ARTICLES! The FMA Newsletter welcomes the input of its members and now our extended family of readership to contribute to the conversation! 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 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

760-414-9212 FMA NEWS


Melissa Weymiller

What is Silver Jackets?

Why Silver Jackets?

Silver Jackets is an innovative program that provides an opportunity to consistently bring together multiple state, federal, tribal and local agencies to learn from one another and jointly apply resources to reduce flood risk. The Silver Jackets teams are state-led interagency teams.

Traditionally, different agencies wear different colored jackets when responding to emergencies. For example, FEMA personnel wear blue and USACE personnel wear red. The name Silver Jackets is used to underscore the common mission of a single team of diverse agencies working together to reduce flood risk.

Who is Silver Jackets?

No single agency has the complete solution — each has one or more pieces, similar to squares in a patchwork quilt. The Silver Jackets program can be viewed as the quilting bee, the forum where all agencies come together to put their programs together and implement a solution. To achieve communities that are sustainable and resilient to natural disasters, especially flooding, partnerships are an important part of success.

How Can I Get More Information on Silver Jackets? MORE INFORMATION

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



California Silver Jackets Project Highlight

Flood after Fire Support Tools California has experienced catastrophic wildfires recently, along with deadly debris flows following the wildfires in 2017. The state of California, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other state, Federal, and local partners want to document lessons learned from this recent experience. This project will also develop technical tools in the fields of GIS, hydrology, and hydraulics that could support communities preparing for wildfires or for recovery post-fire. Nevada Silver Jackets Project Highlight

Carson River Water Sub-Conservancy District Alluvial Fan Flood Risk Prioritization The Carson River Water Sub-Conservancy District, the Nevada Division of Water Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other local and state agencies have partnered to analyze the alluvial fan flood risk in the Carson River Watershed. This project will create datasets for planners, increase the certainty of alluvial fan delineations, and develop in-depth studies on the fans closest to population centers to increase flood risk awareness.


THE MUDDY RIVER: WHERE VITALITY MEETS FLOOD RISK Patricia Fontanet Rodríguez “The power of water is awesome and not to be trifled with.” This is the message Tim Sutko, former Environmental Mitigation Manager at the Clark County Regional Flood District for 29 years, would like everybody in Southern Nevada to understand. Residents in Clark County know that floods are common. In fact, the Muddy River, located approximately 60 miles northeast of Las Vegas, floods almost every year. The river, only 32 miles long, is considered an important, if not essential, economic driver for nearby communities. For generations, many communities have depended on the broad, low-lying fertile lands along the Muddy for their livelihoods, despite harsh flood events. Settling along the Muddy was a logical choice for Native Americans and early settlers who wished to farm the area.


Today, alfalfa and sudan grass are the primary crops grown during the summer; meanwhile oats and barley for pasture are harvested during the winter. Diversions from the Muddy are also primarily used to irrigate nearby farm land and to supply water for the Reid Gardner Power Generating Station and Moapa Valley Dairy. Non-diverted flows continue toward the Overton Arm of Lake Mead. The importance of the Muddy cannot be overstated, but neither can its flood risk. Since the Muddy is surrounded by flat lands, when floodwaters overtop the river, they spill into the floodplain and travel long distances reaching homes and farms. Sometimes these floods can be unforgiving.


The largest recorded flood occurred in 1981, also known as the California Wash Flood, and led to millions of dollars in damages. A huge storm caused six and a half inches of rain to fall in under an hour. Over 200 residences were damaged, railroads, and roads became inaccessible, and over 500 dairy cows died in the event. Although no human deaths were reported, Kelly Booth, a long-time resident of Moapa, was dangerously close to witnessing a tragic accident. After the rain started to pour, Booth and his boss headed over to the California Wash, where they say water was about 13 feet deep. Booth could see mobile homes starting to become submerged. Booth noticed one of the mobile homes still had a family inside. He and a few others got on a boat and made their way to the trailer, which was almost totally submerged by the time they reached it. The family of six, including a two-year old baby, were trapped inside and only had about six inches of air left to breathe. Booth and the others kicked the window open and rescued everybody. The Clark County Regional Flood Control District categorized the California Wash Flood as a 500year flood event, meaning a storm that has a 0.2 percent chance of occurring in a given year.

Flood risk management projects have been completed and are ongoing in the Moapa Valley area to help manage flood waters. These projects include levees, diversion structures, and concrete culverts designed to protect against the 100-year flood or more frequent events, meaning a storm with a 1 percent or higher chance of occurring each year. Should another 500-year event occur, such as the one in 1981, residents of Moapa Valley remain unprotected. “The standard for the design of flood control facilities is the 100-year event. That’s the storm that has a one percent chance of occurring in any given year,” says Sutko. “You can always have a bigger storm. It’s rare. But it can happen. And it does happen.” Ultimately, it is up to individuals to understand their flood risk and to take measures to prepare in case of a flood event. Flood risk management structures offer some protection, but are only part of the flood preparedness equation. Residents who have lived in the Moapa Valley for generations understand the Muddy River better than anyone else. They know how to use the river for irrigation, cultivation, and recreation. In turn, residents who share a livelihood with the river also share the responsibility to recognize flood hazards.


FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT SYMPOSIUM REVIEW Brian Brown The State of California was selected by ASFPM to host a Flood Risk Management symposium, which was held in April at the Cal OES Headquarters in Rancho Cordova. This event was hosted by the Floodplain Management Association (FMA) and the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) Foundation. The location of ASFPM Foundations’ annual symposium is competitive; and this was the first one in California. The intent of the one-day symposium was to delve deeper into key topics found at chapter floodplain management conferences and results in a white paper documenting the findings. Selected experts convened in an open-discussion, think-tank type environment to explore the program and policy implications of "The Differing California Flood Disasters", including emergency response to levee breaches, flood/alluvial fan/mudflow hazards, and the flood/dam nexus. The objective was to identify solutions to reduce flood damages across California based on collaborative input from subject matter experts and decision members.

Symposium 1 on September 16, 2004, addressed "Defining and Measuring Flood Risk and Floodplain Resources;" Symposium 2 on November 4, 2009, explored "Flood Risk Perception, Communication, and Behavior;" and the 3rd Gilbert F. White Forum was held in March 2010 at George Washington University. Its goal was to facilitate discussion on the topic of flood risk to establish priorities for improving policy and program implementation and to formulate recommendations and directions for the future.

This idea of state/chapter Flood Risk Management symposiums is a follow-on from the ASFPM Foundation’s national Flood Risk Symposia and Forum, where 100 national and international experts and leaders convened over a decade through a series of three events:

The notes from the breakout session at the California Symposium discussing "The Differing California Flood Disasters" are being reviewed and the main idea put into a white paper that can be used to shape future flood management in the State of California.


The development of such a program at the state level is designed to develop meaningful indicators to measure progress in flood risk management at the state/chapter level. A summary of the principal findings and recommendations growing out of the ASFPM Foundation events are available to guide afteraction reports and to serve as a record of the thinking of policy experts at this time.



Michael Nowlan Fill in the proceeding part of that statement my friends! Our beloved Chair (Mr. Booth) has been focusing on the “Association” part of FMA for some time now, and with good reason. Our wonderful association isn’t one if we don’t do things together. Can any of us effectively do our jobs alone? It doesn’t matter if we work in the public or private sectors, eventually we all need to collaborate to really get anything done. Our association offers a number of ways to connect and grow within our community/profession. Of course, the most prominent way we associate is through our annual conference, which, if you haven’t heard, is in San Diego this year. We have also established regular (often monthly) luncheons in Sacramento, Southern California, and the Bay Area, to

have more regular discussions on important topics. FMA also sponsors technical training opportunities, to provide our members with some beneficial tools in performing floodplain management in our region. How does this, and everything else we do, all happen? It doesn’t just magically come together with a snap of the fingers. Unfortunately, no infinity stones are available to us (sorry, I couldn’t resist one reference). It happens when you all decide to join the process. Attending our annual conference is fantastic, and we applaud your attendance and support. There is so much more that could be done on a monthly basis, in our local communities, that would enhance our organization.



If you have a great new idea for a new FMA venture, please share it with someone on our Board of Directors, or someone who knows someone in our FMA family! FMA would like to follow through on all great ideas by supporting you, and by forming groups that champion different facets of floodplain management. There are a number of committees already formed who have champions leading them, that need your help to continue succeeding. We have a Professional Development Committee headed up by Clark Barlow (, a Coastal Committee lead by Vince Geronimo (, a Emerging Professionals Committee chaired by Megan LeRoy (, a Social Media Committee spearheaded by Elizabeth Avelar (, a Modeling and Mapping Committee marshalled by Cameron Jenkins (, a Membership Committee coordinated by Brent Siemer (, an Awards Committee energized by Ricardo Pineda (, and a Sacramento Luncheon Committee heralded by Carl Walker (, to name a few. There is also a newsletter committee, if you are interested, <wink, wink>. I encourage you to fill in the blank of the title of this article, but I would follow up with a tag on the end your great idea. Associating is More <you fill in the blank> When We Work Together.





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