December 2, 2021 Sessions

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: Darryl Glover

9:15AM-9:30AM

Break

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 
 

10:15AM-10:30AM

Break

10:30AM-11:15AM Session

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

11:15AM-11:30AM

Break

11:30AM-12:15PM Session

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.

Overarching Themes:

- Making communities more resilient and protecting floodplains and fragile natural 
- Sustainability and risk reduction 
- Community Planning 
- Climate Change 
- Community Engagement

Presenter: Necolle Maccherone

12:15PM-1:15PM

Lunch

1:15PM-2:00PM Plenary Session

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!

Presenter: Rich Sobota, FEMA Region 3

2:00PM-2:15PM 

Break

2:15pm-3:00PM Session

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

3:00PM-3:15PM

Break

3:15PM-4:00PM Session

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

4:00PM-4:15PM

Break

4:15PM-5:00PM Session

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.

Presenters: Ian Kaliakin, P.E.

Uday Khambhammettu, P.E., CFM