FMA News The Newsletter of the Floodplain Management Association www.floodplain.org May 2006 Volume 16, Issue 2 Highlights of This Issue Letter From the Chair Guadalupe River: The Rediscovery 2 It looks like California and Nevada have finally come out from of a Natural Resource in San Jose’s Urban Core under the gloom and rain that was the norm for most of this winter and well into the spring. There was some flooding in 2006 Awards Program Unveiled 4 areas in the Central Valley and other locations, but it certainly held the potential to be much worse. We’re not out of the FMA Participates in Corps of Engi- 5 woods yet though because water is going to be high on the lev- neers National Planning Conference ees on all our major rivers and in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta for months to come as the above-normal snow pack in the Sierra melts. EPA and Corps of Engineers Re- 7 The good news for Californians is that our lawmakers were able to get over their lease New Wetlands Mitigation Rule partisan squabbling and put an infrastructure bond measure on the November bal- lot. I am hopeful that the voters will understand the severity of the needs and will FEMA.gov Gets a Makeover 7 vote for passage of the bond, which includes a significant amount of money for levee repair and reconstruction. Lake Tahoe – Presentation on 9 I would like to let you know what’s been going on in FMA. For the first part of this Pollutants, BMPs, TMDLs year, we will have sponsored four professional development courses, in HEC-HMS, FEMA Train the Trainer Course 9 HEC-RAS, FLO-2D and CFM certification training. Watch your e-mail for announce- ments of future training sessions and feel free to tell us if you have a training need that is not being filled. If you and about 20 friends have the same need, we will Career Opportunities! 9 develop a course and present it. The training courses FMA sponsors are very afford- able and provide unparalleled value for your training dollar. Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM) 10 Planning for our annual conference at the Coronado Island Marriott is moving Training & Exam ahead very well. If you have a paper that you would like to submit for the confer- ence please send an abstract to firstname.lastname@example.org by June 1. Sign up and get California Extreme Precipitation 10 your reservations early to make sure that you get the lowest conference and hotel Symposium rates. 11 You also have an opportunity to nominate deserving individuals, jurisdictions, and HEC-HMS 3-Day Course An- projects for one of our FMA Awards to be given out at the annual conference. nouncement! Please see the award nomination announcement in this newsletter for more infor- Changes to FEMA Elevation 12 mation. Certificate Let’s all keep working for sensible floodplain planning, maintenance and upgrade of levees where needed, and a strong dose of common sense (which doesn’t seem Financing Stormwater Management 12 to be that common anymore) when it comes to management of the interaction of people, development, and floodplains. FMA 2006 Annual Conference— 13 Preliminary Program - Eric Clyde Volume 16, Issue 2 Page 2 arose that removing the SRA would expose the river to direct sunlight and raise water temperatures above acceptable Guadalupe River: The Rediscovery threshold levels for the fledgling steelhead population. A no- of a Natural Resource in San Jose’s tice of citizen’s suit was filed under Section 505 of the Clean Water Act alleging that the already completed portions of the Urban Core project did not meet established water quality permit condi- By David J. Chesterman, P.E. tions and that remaining portions would further degrade wa- Santa Clara Valley Water District ter quality, especially by causing increased temperatures. As construction on the Guadalupe River Park and Flood Rather than embark on a lengthy and costly debate on the Protection Project moved into its final stages in Septem- merits of the claim, the project proponents took a more con- ber 2005, an estimated 40,000 Silicon Valley residents structive approach. They formed a collaborative comprised of gathered in the parks and trails along this vast multi- the water district, Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife purpose project to celebrate a unique natural river corri- Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration dor in the highly urbanized downtown San Jose area. After Fisheries, California Department of Fish and Game, San Fran- several starts and stops in planning efforts spanning the cisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, City of San past five decades, the completed park and flood protec- Jose and the potential litigants to develop a revised concep- tion project has now become the central feature and gath- tual design that would meet several important criteria. It ering place for the surrounding community. would not only provide needed flood protection but also achieve measurable objectives to support beneficial uses, be The project was jointly developed by the Santa Clara Val- cost-effective and result in timely project completion. ley Water District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, City of San Jose and San Jose Redevelopment Agency to achieve Driven primarily by the desire to maintain acceptably low- multiple goals of flood protection, habitat enhancement water temperatures, the resulting flood protection project and recreational benefits for the heart of Silicon Valley. At included construction of a large underground culvert measur- a total cost of $350 million, the 2.6-mile-long project pro- ing 2,700 feet long, with a cross section measuring more vides critically needed flood protection from a 100-year than 50 feet wide and 20 feet high. The culvert allows design storm event of 17,000 cubic feet per second. roughly half of the flood flows to bypass the natural river As recently as 1995 and 1998, high stormwater flows channel, protecting the natural channel from erosion, main- caused extensive flooding of streets, homes and busi- taining critical SRA, and providing protection from a one- nesses in downtown San Jose. The flood damages now percent flood event. avoided by the project easily approach $1 billion while savings in flood insurance premiums provide a net eco- Besides ensuring water temperature suitable for steelhead nomic benefit to the community estimated at $4 million and Chinook salmon, the redesigned project has significant annually. additional habitat benefits, including 21 additional acres of riparian vegetation and nearly 23,000 linear feet of SRA vege- Construction of the downstream reach of the project was tation; replacement and maintenance of critical spawning and completed in 1995 and was generally considered to pro- rearing habitat, and constructed low-flow channel invert and vide enhanced habitat benefits due, in part, to the avail- bank stabilization features. Critical fish barriers have been ability of relatively inexpensive lands underlying the flight removed and sections of the river rebuilt to allow unimpeded path of the Norman Y Mineta San Jose International Air- fish migration. port. However, the remaining upstream reach was se- verely constrained by an existing urban infrastructure While the bypass culvert protects most of the sensitive which had encroached upon the river’s historic floodplain. stream reaches, some areas still require more traditional fea- tures to meet flood protection goals amid the existing urban The originally planned widening of the remaining reach infrastructure. Concrete retaining walls, gabion baskets and would have removed several hundred lineal feet of articulated concrete mats are used to protect dozens of con- shaded riverine aquatic, or SRA, vegetation. Concerns crete piers supporting an eight-lane interstate highway over- Volume 16, Issue 2 Page 3 pass. Extensive replanting of native vegetation along throughout the Guadalupe Watershed. stepped planters is re-establishing riparian vegetation and habitat values to the extent possible. Construction of the Guadalupe River project in downtown San Jose has resulted in the rediscovery of the Guadalupe River in Recreational goals of the project are met, in part, by cov- the heart of downtown San Jose. Cities throughout the area ering the concrete culvert roof with several feet of soil, have now joined the water district to embrace policies and contributing additional lands to allow the creation of guidelines for protecting local streams while allowing for com- more than 60 acres of new parks, trails and open space patible land development and continued economic growth. in the downtown urban core, where land is valued at $2 million-plus per acre. When upstream and downstream projects are com- pleted, more than 25 miles of trails will wind along the Guadalupe River corridor from San Francisco Bay to the Santa Cruz mountains foothills. The project also includes a commitment by the Corps for the first three years, and by the water district for the re- maining life of the project, to measure the success of the project to meet environmental mitigation commitments. An Adaptive Management Team, comprised of members of the original collaborative process, meets annually to review monitoring results for specific measurable objec- tives and makes recommendations to better achieve the goals. Measurements of SRA vegetation, bank and channel- bottom stability, water temperature, fish-spawning gravel quality and anadromous fish occurrence all contribute to the collective evaluation of the project. The water district takes Adaptive Management Team recommendations into account when planning for annual maintenance pro- jects in the river. What’s next? The Santa Clara Valley Water District, in partner- Collaboration among the diverse interests was essential ship with the Corps of Engineers and City of San Jose, is plan- to plan, design and construct a project of this magnitude. ning construction of a six-mile-long, $220 million flood protec- The working relationships established among representa- tion project on Upper Guadalupe River, which will complete a tives of the resource protection agencies, environmental 20-mile long urban river corridor from San Francisco Bay to the and recreational interest groups and project sponsors Santa Cruz mountains foothills. has continued beyond the Guadalupe River project through the establishment of the Guadalupe Watershed Integration Working Group. That ongoing forum continues to allow multi-interest collaboration on planned trails, flood protection and creek-restoration projects located Volume 16, Issue 2 Page 4 2006 Awards Program Unveiled Floodplain Management By Mark Seits, Awards Program Chair Association Board, 2005- 2006 How often do we look back and kick ourselves for missing an opportunity to recognize and acknowledge someone for their significant efforts or accomplishments. We get caught up in CHAIR the demands of life, both personally and professionally, and forget to take the time to really Eric Clyde recognize what others are doing. All too often we don’t even realize it until permanent dam- Montgomery Watson-Harza age is done to the relationship or, worse yet, the relationship is severed. How is it that we can always find the time to recognize when someone has failed to meet our expectations? VICE-CHAIR Jeanne Ruefer There are many ways to recognize individual and team accomplishments in the professional County of Washoe Dept. of Water world (you’re on your own for your personal relationships), but receiving an award in front of Resources your peers, has to be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling. When you take the time to think about what someone has done, write it out and submit it, you are communicating how SECRETARY much you value that person(s). Tom Smythe Lake County Flood Control WC FMA is proud to unveil a ‘new and improved’ Awards Program for 2006. If you are a member TREASURER of FMA, you have the opportunity to nominate someone you know in one of the following ar- Pal Hegedus eas: RBF Consulting Floodplain Manager of the Year DIRECTOR This award seeks to recognize outstanding individual efforts and contributions to floodplain Mark Seits management. The Floodplain Manager of the Year is designed to honor an individual respon- HDR Engineering sible for the development of a distinguished local program or activity. This award is given by the Association to individuals who are highly instrumental in carrying forward the goals and DIRECTOR objectives of floodplain management. Kevin Eubanks Clark County Regional Flood Control Award for Excellence District This award seeks to find and recognize outstanding floodplain management projects, pro- DIRECTOR grams and/or activities. Eligible entries include local, regional, and national government Rosalia Rojo (such as cities, towns, counties, State, and Federal agencies), special districts, and private City of Los Angeles consulting engineers/firms. Eligible entries include either an overall program or a specific project or activity which epitomizes the best in floodplain management. DIRECTOR Marty Teal Hogg- Hogg-Owen Award for Meritorious Achievement in Floodplain Management WEST Consultants This award recognizes individuals who have achieved success in a significant aspect of flood- plain management. These efforts shall include, but not be limited to, education, government, IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIR policy, research, litigation, outreach, implementation or other actions which demonstrate the Mark Gookin advancement of flood loss reduction within the nominee's professional realm. Wood Rodgers EX OFFICIO MEMBER Distinguished Service Award Maria Lorenzo Lee This award is given to recognize individuals who, through their long term efforts, have clearly California Dept. of Water Resources influenced the realm of floodplain management and/or the work of the Association. EX OFFICIO MEMBER Andy Lee Award for Extraordinary Public Service Kim Groenewold This award is given to individuals who have made extraordinary contributions benefiting the Nevada Division of Water Resources public. The award may be given to either public or private sector recipients. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Media Award Iovanka Todt This award was established to acknowledge exemplary efforts on the part of communications Floodplain Management Association media (written and/or visual) to increase information and/or awareness of flood issues with the general public.
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