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Corps of Engineers in race with river to identify 2011 flood damage

MISSISSIPPI RIVER — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mississippi Valley Division, is identifying and developing communication strategies for the elevated threat in the Mississippi River’s flood risk reduction system brought about by 2011 flood damages.

A USACE regional flood preparedness team is currently building on Mississippi River damage assessment information, which includes levees, reservoirs, channel stabilization and floodways. The massive 2011 flood damaged many structures, navigation channels and levees along the Mississippi River, leaving many in a state of vulnerability that raise concerns for increased risk of diminished performance, possible failure and potential for adverse
consequence to their dependent communities, citizens and industry. The risks are being carefully assessed along with consideration for potential risk reduction measures that may be needed prior to the enactment of full repairs.

“Each damaged location has been characterized by its likelihood of failure and potential consequences if there is a failure,” said Scott Whitney, Regional Flood Risk Manager for the Mississippi Valley Division. “This
information will be communicated through information papers and via a web-based mapping application called CorpsMap. The regional flood preparedness team is currently completing templates of the risk documents and
will begin distributing this information in February 2012.”

In addition to the risk information above, select high-risk areas within the Mississippi River Valley will be modeled with a hypothetical major flood using historical data and the National Weather Service spring forecast and
mapped to show potential inundation (e.g., inundation timing and depth). This regionally standardized inundation information is extremely helpful for interagency collaboration designed to enhance or improve preparation,
mitigation and response to flooding emergencies.

USACE and its partners, federal and state emergency response agencies, will review and use this risk information for select areas within the Mississippi River Valley at an upcoming inter-agency workshop in February. Preliminary risk assessment information papers, mapping, CorpsMap and overall communication will be discussed and refined at the meeting to better coordinate the regional flood season preparedness with partner agencies.


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