December 2, 2021
8:15AM - 9:15AM Opening Keynote
Community Flood Preparedness Fund:
The Virginia Community Flood Preparedness Fund (CFPF) was established in the Code of
Virginia pursuant to Chapter 13, Title 10.1, Article 4, Section 10.1-603.24 and Section 10.1-603-25 and the provisions of § 10.1-1330. Clean Energy and Community Flood Preparedness Fund, which was passed during the 2020 session of the General Assembly. Money in the fund comes from the auction of carbon allowances through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The fund was established to provide support for regions and localities across Virginia to reduce the impacts of flooding, including flooding driven by climate change. The fund will prioritize projects that are in concert with local, state and federal floodplain management standards, local resilience plans and the Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan. The fund will empower communities to complete vulnerability assessments, and develop and implement action-oriented approaches to bolster flood preparedness and resilience.
Presenter: DCR Darryl Glover
9:30AM -10:15AM Session
Real-Time Flood Intelligence For Emergency Management:
The Hampton Roads region, Virginia, USA experiences frequent flooding due to tidal, sea level rise, storm surge, riverine and pluvial flooding. During flooding events, communities experience significant disruptions to transportation, affecting private, commercial, emergency vehicles and public transportation. This detracts from local business’ viability, the quality of life for residents, and in extreme cases may threaten vehicle and driver safety. The difficulty in managing this issue is the lack of situational awareness of the location and severity of the flooding, and how to navigate around these hazards.
As part of an innovation project with RISE resilience, FloodMapp deployed real-time flood modelling technology to predict road closures and in a world-first, integrated the live predicted flood models to the traffic routing application, Waze, to assist residents to navigate around flooded roads.
Real-time data pipelines were developed to collect and aggregate river discharge, river height, rainfall and tidal data from the US Geological Society (USGS), National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) and local sensor networks. These inputs were stored in a live database and fed into a cloud-based rapid hydrology and hydraulic flood model, DASH to simulate pluvial, riverine and coastal flooding. Models were calibrated using flood extent data and ground truth data from a series of flood events. A software integration was developed to undertake analytics to determine road hazards and road closures based on flood extent and depth logic, and feed these into traffic routing application WAZE to enable live hazard data to assist drivers navigate around flooded roads. The system has been through extensive pilot testing and is now going through a validation phase in collaboration with the City of Virginia Beach and the city of Norfolk.
Presenter: Juliette Murphy
Interdisciplinary Forward Thinking Approaches to Stream, Floodplain and Wetland Restoration:
As water resources engineering continues to integrate with natural systems design and community development, the critical role of hydrologic and hydraulic modelling in predictive analysis continues to add value in the realm of floodplain management and restoration. When merged with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), historic aerial imagery and climatological data, cutting edge modeling and software platforms facilitate advancements water resources and risk management. Through highlighting a variety of hydrologic and hydraulic (H & H) modelling projects, Scott C. Blossom P.E., CFM, LEED AP will explore the benefits (and limitations) of H & H modelling and its role in managing water resources and restoring floodplains in a variety of settings.
Hydrologic and hydraulic analysis for resilient design adds value not only through deliverable but also through process. Through the process of analyzing a system and deciding upon design storms and “scenarios” a design team is forced to gain an understanding of the climatic, topographic, and geographic position of a system and make design decisions based on anticipated outcomes.
The fields of stream and wetland restoration have complemented the conventional world of floodplain analysis, dam safety and risk management with a forward-thinking approach involving a more detailed consideration of evolution and natural tendency.
The presentation will compare multiple innovative projects, including tidal wetland mitigation designed to adapt to rising tides, stream and floodplain restoration for nutrient crediting in the Shenandoah Valley, watershed modelling to identify road overtopping for 100-year-old military facilities and post hurricane stabilization in steep coastal island settings. The presentation will explore the evolution of ‘urban design storms and scenarios’ that are a standard component of today’s water resource engineering profession, evaluating the similarities and differences between design storms for coastal design, dam safety, floodplain management, restoration and stormwater design.
Presenter: Scott Blossom, P.E., CFM, LEED AP
Local Climate Vulnerability Assessment Informs Future Investment and Educates the Community:
Columbia Association (CA) is a nonprofit community services corporation that manages Columbia, Maryland, a planned community that is home to approximately 100,000 people and several thousand businesses. Columbia MD was created in the late 1960's by visionary developer James Rouse who was concerned with the rate of population growth and suburban sprawl in the United States and envisioned a modern, integrated, value-driven community as the answer. In 2016 Columbia was named the Best Small City in America by Money Magazine. “One of the most successful planned communities in the country, Columbia is a magnet in the Baltimore-Washington corridor, attracting families in search of good schools and businesses hungry for educated employees.”
Columbia Association builds and operates community facilities that include three man-made lakes; more than 40 ponds; parks; 165 tot lots; 95 miles of pathways; community and neighborhood centers; an art center; 23 outdoor pools; an indoor swim center; an indoor Olympic-sized ice rink; three outdoor tennis clubs; two indoor tennis clubs; two golf clubs; a horse center, a sports park with mini-golf, batting cages, a skate park and picnic pavilions; and three large recreation/fitness clubs.
Our climate is changing and with it the frequency and intensity of severe weather events. CA wanted to understand what future precipitation, heat and extreme weather events would look like and how they could impact the assets they are responsible for.
Michael Baker International conducted a climate vulnerability assessment. We evaluated over 550 assets to determine their risk for future flooding and extreme heat. We also evaluated which assets serve socially vulnerable populations and how that may impact the risk rating of the assets. We used existing, available data for heat and social vulnerability components. We developed models and ran scenarios to represent the cumulative impacts of ongoing increases in annual precipitation for the future flooding components.
In addition to technical analysis, many steps were taken to include community input and plug into larger county and state planning efforts. The results will inform how CA manages is assets in the future.
Making communities more resilient and protecting floodplains and fragile natural
Sustainability and risk reduction
Presenter: Necolle Maccherone
Risk Rating 2.0:
FEMA is updating the National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) risk rating methodology through the implementation of a new pricing methodology called Risk Rating 2.0. The methodology leverages industry best practices and cutting-edge technology to enable FEMA to deliver rates that are actuarially sound, equitable, easier to understand and better reflect a property’s flood risk. Join us for an overview and Q&A!
Presented by: Rich Sobota
Incentivizing Retreat Through Conservation Partnerships:
Wetlands Watch is developing a program strategy and community of practice that will help communities overcome barriers to complete property acquisitions in flood risk areas. Most local governments, particularly those located in coastal Virginia, where the impacts of sea level rise are acutely felt, do not have active acquisition programs. While there are many reasons why buyouts are not pursued in communities, such as lack of political will, capacity constraints, and grant writing inexperience, one barrier is of particular interest and the subject of this presentation. Local government staff do not specialize in land conservation management. As the number of acquired parcels in a community increases commensurate with the increased risk from sea level rise, the land management responsibilities grow exponentially for local government staff. How can localities keep up with the financial and programmatic burden of managing vacant parcels? Wetlands Watch hopes land conservation and other land management organizations can offer one solution to this problem.
This presentation will discuss Wetlands Watch’s work to date on connecting land conservation and management organizations with local governments removing people from flood risk. The presentation will describe the work of a multi-year pilot project with the City of Norfolk that brings land conservation into a private market-based acquisition program. Finally, the presentation will detail the creation of a community of practice that connects land trusts with local government hazard mitigation and floodplain management program staff to pursue acquisition grants available through a newly created state fund in Virginia and other national grant programs.
Presenter: Mary Carson Stiff
Floodplain Management Program Enhancements in Henrico County:
This presentation will provide an overview of recent changes to Henrico County’s floodplain management program. Beginning in early 2021, the County embarked on several projects to enhance its floodplain program, including revising its floodplain ordinance and utilizing recent legislation to adopt regulations outside of zoning. This update included incorporating higher standards, such as prohibiting fill and critical facilities in the Special Flood Hazard Area. To support the ordinance update, the County also developed a Floodplain Technical Guidance Manual to provide developers with addition information and outline submittal standards. Additionally, the County implemented website enhancements to increase outreach and education, including creating a new online floodplain map and online flood model repository for engineers to easily access and download available HEC-RAS models in the County.
Presenters: Kristin Owen, AICP, CFM, Benjamin Felton, PE, CFM
Floodplain Reviews: Best Practices for Municipal Staff Augmentation:
Municipal employees wear many “hats”, and their responsibilities continue to grow. A way to lessen the burden is to delegate portions of the workload to consultants. Floodplain reviews, like site plan and erosion and sediment control reviews, are an increasingly popular item that can be effectively outsourced. This presentation will focus on best practices and lessons learned from performing many floodplain plan and model reviews for cities like Portsmouth and Richmond. The presentation will cover how to effectively manage client communication and conflict of interests; benefits and drawbacks of singular versus multiple staff involvement and how to standardize document review processes. The lessons learned and strategies to tailor staff augmentation to each municipality help streamline the process and bolster communication between the municipality, the consultant completing the reviews and the submitter.
Presenter: Ian Kaliakin, P.E., Uday Khambhammettu, P.E., CFM
December 3, 2021
8:15AM - 9:15AM Session
Innovating on Resilience and Adaptation: Continuing Opportunities for University Collaborations:
As flood resilience and adaptation have moved from academic theories to a matter of public, nonprofit, and private sector practice over the last 15 years, what is now the role of Universities in this space? As society recognizes the broad scale of need for building resilience and facilitating adaptation, the future of the field will rely on innovating the practice of building not just resilient infrastructure, but building wholly resilient communities supported by resilient and adaptable social, environmental, and economic systems. In this session, learn about how Old Dominion University is approaching the challenge of innovating the practice of resilience and adaptation through the Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience (ICAR). ICAR was founded with a mission of becoming a national center that catalyzes adaptation and resilience in coastal communities by integrating knowledge and education to develop practical solutions. Its affiliates use interdisciplinary collaborative approaches to catalyze interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research, educate students and train professionals to become practitioners and leaders in coastal resilience, and advance practice by working across sectors and across levels of government to develop solutions for complex challenges in coastal communities. ICAR also works collaboratively with other Universities through numerous interinstitutional partnerships, including the Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding Resiliency (CCRFR), the Resilience Adaptation Feasibility Tool (RAFT), and with Virginia Sea Grant. Through presenting these and other examples, discussion at the end of this session will leave you with ideas for your next University collaboration.
Presenter: Dr. Jessica Whitehead, PhD
Fairfax County Regulatory Floodplain Mapping Project:
Fairfax County has initiated a project to complete modeling and mapping of regulatory floodplains for an estimated 812 stream miles in the County’s 30 designated watersheds. The scope consists of obtaining and preparing terrain data for use in the hydrologic and hydraulic (H&H) analysis, obtaining data for bridges and culverts, establishing 100-year elevations using steady-state 1-Dimensional modeling, and mapping the results. The H&H models being developed for this effort will allow incorporation of future rainfall estimates to determine the extent of potential changes in the 100-year floodplain. This presentation will provide a short history of floodplain management in the County, and an overview of the methodology being employed to complete the regulatory floodplain mapping project. Preliminary results from two pilot studies in the Dogue Creek and Pimmit Run watersheds will also be presented and discussed.
Presenters: Yosif Ibrahim, Xiaoyue (Jenny) Zhen, Elfatih Salim, Dipmani Kumar
Letter of Map Changes - An Overview of the Review Process:
This presentation will present an overview of the review process for letter of map changes (LOMCs). This includes Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA), Letter of Map Revision (LOMR), and Letter of Map Revision based on Fill (LOMR-F).The issuance process for Letter of Map Changes (LOMCs) and other related topics will be discussed in detail.
A Letter of Map Change (LOMC) is a letter which reflects an official change to an effective Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). LOMCS are issued in response to a request made to FEMA to revise or amend its effective flood map to remove a property or reflect changed flooding conditions on the effective map. Such a request can be made by an individual property owner or a community. A community is also responsible for submitting data to U.S. Department of Home land Security – Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS- FEMA) reflecting revised flood hazard information when physical changes within the floodplain have occurred so that NFIP maps can be revised as appropriate. This will allow risk premium rates and floodplain management requirements to be based on current data. A Letter of Map Revision is a letter from DHS-FEMA, officially revising the current National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) map to show changes to floodplains, floodways, or flood elevations, whereas a Conditional Letter of Map Revision is a letter from DHS-FEMA commenting on whether a proposed project, if built as proposed, would meet minimum NFIP standards or proposed hydrology changes [Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Ch. 1, Parts 60, 65, and 72]. Submissions to DHS-FEMA for revisions to effective Flood Insurance Studies (FIS), Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) or Flood Boundary Floodway Maps (FBFMs) by an individual or a community will require the signing of appropriate application Forms. DHS-FEMA has implemented a procedure to recover costs associated with reviewing and processing requests for modifications to published flood information and maps. Some requests for revisions may be exempt from fees as outlined under 44CFR 72.5. A copy of the notice summarizing the current fee schedule, which was published in the Federal Register, is available on the FEMA Web site at: https://www.fema.gov/flood-map-related-fees
All requests for CLOMRs and LOMRs should be submitted to appropriate address. Applicants can also use the Online LOMC application, an internet-based tool, to easily request a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or Letter of Map Revision (LOMR). Users can submit an amendment or revisions application through this tool instead of filing the MT-EZ, MT-1 or MT-2 paper forms via mail. Anyone, including communities, home or property owners, their representatives, and professional surveyors and engineers, may submit a LOMC request using the Online LOMC. Certification by licensed engineering or surveying professionals is required for some supporting documentation, which may be scanned and uploaded by the applicant. Once an application along with all necessary data and fee are received, FEMA will notify the applicant of the determination within 90 days of the date of receipt of all required data. The applicant is asked to provide additional data if additional information is required to process the request. If additional information is not required, a final letter of determination is issued within 90 days of receipt of the request.
Presenter: Mohammed Tariq Makhdoom
Program for Public Information (PPI) and Flood Insurance Study for CRS:
A Program for Public Information (PPI) is a committee-based localized approach to community outreach on flood hazards and flood insurance under the Community Rating System (CRS) program.
The goal of a PPI is to encourage community outreach that is:
Designed to meet local needs, and
Is monitored, evaluated, and revised to improve effectiveness.
The City of Norfolk developed a PPI and flood insurance coverage assessment as part of an effort to jump from CRS Class 7 to Class 5. In this session, Norfolk’s floodplain program manager, Matt Simons, will discuss Norfolk’s recent PPI initiative, and the important flood insurance implications.
Presenter: Matthew Simons
eLOMA - A Collaborative Tool for Licensed Professionals, Communities, and FEMA:
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) eLOMA (Electronic Letter of Map Amendment) tool to provides licensed land surveyors and professional engineers with an internet-based system to submit a variety of LOMA requests as a faster alternative to using the standard application process. The eLOMA tool is available to any licensed professional who registers through FEMA's Mapping Information Platform (MIP), which is located online at https://hazards.fema.gov.
This presentation will:
• Provide a summary of the eLOMA tool.
• Outline improvements to the eLOMA process such as the expansion of accepted request types and application tracking via the new user workbench.
• Highlight plans for future user trainings and web-based learning opportunities.
• Provide insight into how the accuracy of eLOMA submittals correlates directly to audit frequency.
• Discuss the steps necessary to achieve eLOMA Super User status to reduce the number of audited submittals.
Presenter: David Mummert
Leveraging PCSWMM To Improve Neighborhood Floodplain Modeling:
Neighborhood residential and structural flooding is one of the worst aspects of any significant rainfall event. In undersized drainage systems, even a small downpour can quickly flood streets, yards, and seep into the homes of unsuspecting citizens. Municipalities are often faced with the challenge of improving localized flooding in these areas with limited knowledge on which components of a drainage system exacerbate this flooding. Figuring out what specifically causes the flooding in these areas can often be challenging to quickly assess using traditional hydrologic and hydraulic analyses. Intensively modeling these flooding scenarios can greatly improve a locality’s ability to understand what is causing the flooding and can provide information on targeted flood prevention measures for the study area.
However, modeling these areas can sometimes be tricky, as residential neighborhoods are usually flat with a combination of ditch and piped drainage infrastructure. This makes it difficult to use traditional riverine and piped network modeling methods to study these areas. These methods can be time-consuming, as riverine modeling requires acute detail for residential systems, and the modeling existing piped drainage networks becomes complex as study area increases.
A Stormwater Management Model, specifically the PCSWMM software, offers an elegant solution to these issues with its ability to integrate modeling methods that route runoff through piped, riverine, channelized, and impounded systems. This presentation will explore the benefits that PCSWMM has to offer when performing preliminary drainage studies. Specifically, the discussion will focus on the in-house GIS tools built into the program and the user-friendly interface that allows for quick iterations to improve models and better understand the flood conditions.
Presenters: Kelsey Redman, Iain Gordon
Solar Resiliency In The Face Of Climate Change:
Traditional power generation contributes to climate change, a fact that has accelerated the use of alternate power generation. With more extreme temperatures and weather events, the need for reliable energy is integral. One of the ways the world is addressing the issue of increased carbon emissions is to construct more renewable energy sources like solar power sites.
The 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act invests billions of dollars in alternative energy generation, which is another driver for the solar site development uptick. Solar sites require large parcels of land to harness energy, which means topography and land use play important roles in the site hydrology and hydraulics. While the actual equipment on a solar site is similar from site to site, the aspects unique to every site are the hydrologic and hydraulic characteristics driven, in large part, by the floodplain modeling and floodplain boundaries.
The “rain-on-grid” modeling in HEC-RAS 2D for solar sites typically uses the 100-year, 24-hour storm event as the basis of analysis for inundation and velocity as well as the associate scour potential. The FEMA floodplain is widely used to ensure proposed infrastructure is not within a floodplain or floodway. It is not always known what happens outside this floodplain, so 2D hydraulic modeling is a method to address this information gap.
By coupling the floodplain modeling and modeling, mitigating risk can be achieved for inverters and panels – the main solar components that need to stay unsubmerged to work effectively. There are many ways to incorporate floodplain information in the hydraulic models. Using the FEMA FIS flows and water surface elevations or building a separate 1D model are ways to integrate published data to validate the model in question (i.e., do the 100-year inundation boundaries match?).
At the very core of this integrated modeling is the coordination and acquisition of the most up-to-date data from the floodplain managers. Upstream data, draft models, no-rise certification requirements, map changes and variances are all factors in any type of large development like solar that can be addressed with more frequent coordination with the floodplain manager and a better understanding of the local floodplain ordinances.
Presenters: Jackie Rothey, Ian Kaliakin
12:15PM-1:15PM Lunch - VFMA All-Member Meeting & FloodPlains Awards Ceremony
1:15PM-2:00PM Plenary Session
State Agency Panel: Flood Resilience Initiatives:
Over the past four years Virginia has adopted sweeping resilience policies that aim to reduce the impacts of current and future flooding across the Commonwealth. These policies were created through legislation or administrative action and are implemented by many different state agencies. This panel will feature representatives from the Virginia Departments of Environmental Quality, Conservation and Recreation, Transportation, and Health and the Marine Resources Commission. Panelists will discuss how their agency is implementing Virginia's new flood resilience policies.
Moderator: Skip Stiles
Panelists: Angela Davis DCR, Chris Swanson VDOT, Rachael Peabody VMRC, Lance Gregory VDH, Justin Williams DEQ
What Drives Hazard Mitigation Policy Adoption? — FEMA’s Property Buyout Program in Virginia:
Flooding is the costliest natural disaster in the United States. Following the Great 1993 Midwest Flood, FEMA introduced the property buyout program as a hazard mitigation strategy to reduce the flood risk. While the buyout program was introduced several decades ago, its effectiveness or lack thereof from the community perspective has received little attention in the research community. Despite the federal governments playing an essential role in the hazard mitigation process, local governments assume the primary responsibility for disaster mitigation. Many actions can be taken at the subnational level to ensure an effective response to disasters. In Virginia, there are 303 buyout projects recorded in the FEMA’s buyout database, but most studies of the buyout focus on other states (e.g., Texas and North Carolina). This research developed a new theoretical framework and studied the internal and external factors that influence the adoption of FEMA’s property buyout program in Virginia. Variables include internal factors (flood problems, social vulnerability, and institutional capacity) and external factors (policy diffusion and upper-level policy environment). We conducted an online survey of local floodplain managers and used logistic regression models to identify the factors. Our analysis showed that individual capacity influences the buyout policy adoption of local governments. Other internal and external variables are not statistically significant for the uptake of buyouts. The finding shows that local governments with floodplain managers who had more flood mitigation experience and perceived benefits of buyouts can enhance community buy-in and political will.
Presenter: Qiong Wang
Lessons Learned from CRS Entry in Pandemic Times:
The presentation will focus on entry issues into the CRS program over the course 2019-2021 and how the City of Newport News was able to work through them to come in at their goal of a 7. These lessons learned can be applied to other communities that are looking to enter CRS and for those already in the program who have not yet dealt with new 2021 requirements in a cycle verification.
Presenter: Ginny Snead
Flooding In Roanoke's Central Business District:
The City of Roanoke’s Central Business District (CBD) is an economic hub, and its long-term sustainability and resiliency is vital to the Commonwealth, however the CBD is subject to urban flash flooding during intense rainfall since it sits atop the confluence of two major streams – Trout Run and Lick Run. These streams are conveyed under city streets in large drainage tunnels dating back to the 1880’s, built prior to modern engineering standards. This flood mitigation plan evaluated historic flooding and then compared traditional and emerging practices in flood mitigation to establish recommendations to reduce or eliminate flood risks. Recommendations were based on the 25-Year Storm Event using both a 1-hour “Flash Flood” and the more traditional 24-hour duration storm event using 2-D PC-SWMM modeling. Additionally, we plan to promote water quality improvement in the solutions presented, where feasible to foster a green approach, with a shared community vision and public support for a resilient future. The implementation of this flood mitigation plan is already underway, with updates on two grey infrastructure projects downtown beyond what was presented at the 2020 VFMA Workshop.
Presenters: Donald Rissmery,PE, CFM Marcus Aguilar, Ph.D., P.E.
Preparing the Resilience Workforce:
The Changing climate is increasing flood risk and as a result the flood insurance rates are climbing out of site on all older high flood risk pre flood map buildings in the flood zones. Flood hazard mitigation projects of elevation are a proven method of reducing flood risk and flood insurance premiums. More and more money is coming to mitigate flood risk and get these buildings compliant but there is little to no experience of how to plan, finance and execute the elevation projects. To that end the Home Raising Academy – HRA was created with funding from the HUD Resilience grant provided to Norfolk and distributed through the RISE initiative. The 8hr class is distributed over a two week period, two nights per week for 2 hours. Currently the course offers 8hr of CFM CEU credits. The target audiences for the course are local government staff, professional designers architects/structural engineers and general contractors. The classes review flood maps, elevation certificates, estimating, the steps/scope of the projects and the really important need to have good design so the community is accepting of the changes, especially in historic neighborhoods. This education session will review the HRA education program.
Presenter: Roderick Scott
4:15PM-5:00PM Closing Plenary Session
ASFPM & National Policy Updates: Policies, Programs and Resources - What’s New in the World of Floodplain Management:
This presentation will first focus on new and important national legislative and policy efforts including NFIP reform, revisions to the minimum NFIP land use and development standards, the infrastructure bill, and establishing a National Atlas 14 program. Then, the presentation will pivot to exciting and new projects and initiatives that ASFPM is working on, including new research/products from ASFPM’s Flood Science Center, that are aimed to help practicing floodplain managers be successful in the work that they do!
Chad Berginnis, Association of State Floodplain Managers