NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 13, 2015) – Personnel from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, Tennessee Valley Authority, floodplain administrators, community leaders, and technical professionals from throughout Tennessee attended the 6th Annual Tennessee Association of Floodplain Managers Conference in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Aug. 11-14, 2015. The group discussed current floodplain, storm water management issues, state and federal floodplain management topics, and got in some networking for good measure.
Russ Rote, Nashville District Project Planning Branch chief, said it’s well known that the Corps of Engineers is heavily involved with flood risk management and flood plain management, and It is important for Corps Districts to maintain involvement with their respective Association of Flood
Plain Managers, as these organizations are important forums for the exchange of information on flood plains from all levels of government.
“The Nashville District touches parts of seven states, we manage 412,000 acres of land and attending this conference is a great way to build relationships with current and future partners, and from the Corps perspective, educate all participants on the Corps missions and authorities, which is what Outreach is all about,” said Rote.
According to Cindy Popplewell from the TN AFPM, the three-day training session was geared toward providing floodplain administrators and technical professionals with specific knowledge to help them promote public awareness of proper floodplain management; promote the professional status of floodplain management and to enhance cooperation and exchange information. She said other missions are to inform concerned individuals of pending floodplain legislation and related flood plain management matters; and to study and support legislation pertinent and necessary to the effective implementation of floodplain management regulations.
“Our mission is to provide leadership to local governments, state agencies, and interested parties toward cooperative management of Tennessee’s floodplains to ensure the reduction of flood damage and the recognition of the flood plains natural benefit,” said Popplewell.
The conference topics included: Floodplain Management; Legislation affecting Floodplain Management; Flood Insurance Reform; Flood Insurance Resources; Flood Risk Management; Flood Hazard Mapping and Understanding FEMA’s Flood Hazard Mapping for NON-GIS communities.
Rote said understanding current flood policies and laws is important for community officials and the private sector to make wise land use decisions and it is key to learning how to use models and other tools used to identify flood risk and manage development in flood hazard areas such as Flood Insurance Studies and Flood Insurance Rate Maps.
Nashville District’s booth attracted a constant stream of people interested in learning more about the district’s flood risk management, emergency stream bank stabilization, planning assistance, floodplain services, aquatic ecosystem restoration, small navigation projects and environmental stewardship of the Cumberland and Tennessee River systems.
“We have a variety of information for everyone not familiar with what the Corps has to offer,” said Lacey Thomason, planning project manager, Plans, Formulations Section Nashville District.
“Our display included national, regional and district initiatives as well as information on our authorities and processes to conduct ecosystem restoration and flood damage reduction projects.”
Steve Grant, Public Works Director, City of Soddy-Daisy, Tenn., near Chattanooga attended the forum to network and to learn new procedures concerning floodplain management.
“I am really happy we are here because of the networks and contacts,” said Grant. “The lectures are great, the topics are relevant and I have had the opportunity to talk with Corps representatives and learn a few things.”
Popplewell said the purpose of the Tennessee Association of Flood Plain Managers is to promote and provide assistance for the responsible management of Special Flood Hazard Areas, as delineated on EMA's Flood Insurance Rate Maps and their Risk MAP software package, through education, cooperation and communication, thereby protecting the natural and beneficial functions of Tennessee's floodplains.
Rote said the Corps also helps provide water resource solutions and engineering support for other federal, state and local governments.
The Nashville District manages water resources, which includes environmental stewardship, ecosystem restoration, flood risk management, navigation, emergency response, floodplain management, hydropower, recreation, regulation and water supply, but also provides assistance and partners with stakeholders through cost-share programs to address water resource issues.
“The Corps is usually approached by a county or city government and interpret their problems and try to fit some Corps authority to solve their problems,” Rote said. “In this case, we are attending this conference as a customer outreach venue and see how we can help.”
Attendees from the Corps include: Aras Barzanji, Phyllis Kohl, and Barry Moran from the Engineering and Construction, and Lacey Thomason, P.E., Craig Carrington, and Russ Rote, P.E., PMP, CFM, from the Project Planning Branch.
For more information about working with the Nashville District Project Planning Branch or Chief, Plan Formulation Section go to http://1.usa.gov/1KlzPI1. For the Tennessee association of Floodplain Management visit: http://web.tnafpm.com/. For news, updates and information about the Nashville District, please follow and “Like” us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps .) and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps)