High and Dry December 2020 Print

    High and Dry


    UFSMA 2020 (October 20-23):

    (Utah Floodplain & Stormwater Management Conference) The UFSMA conference was held virtually this year. We had a great turn-out and had very well received presentations. We want to thank all our presenters, and our attendees for an educational and interesting experience.

    Back to top

    Mitigation Practice

    One of the most cost-effective ways to safeguard our communities against natural disasters is to adopt and follow hazard-resistant building codes. Not only are casualties reduced, but the cost of building damage is also reduced during a natural disaster. Building codes also help communities get back on their feet faster by minimizing indirect costs such as business interruptions and lost income.


    Utah current codes: (Make sure you are checking for floodplain codes they are in there! Some are higher standards then FEMA’s.)

    Free I Codes information: https://codes.iccsafe.org/

    Code Books https://up.codes/codes/utah

    Building Code 2018 of Utah adopts the IBC 2018 with amendments

    Residential Code 2015 of Utah adopts the IRC 2015 with amendments

    Plumbing Code 2018 of Utah adopts the IPC 2018 with amendments

    Mechanical Code 2018 of Utah adopts the IMC 2018 with amendments

    Fuel Gas Code 2018 of Utah adopts the IFGC 2018 with amendments


    Eric Martineau

    Mitigation & Recovery


    [email protected]

    Back to top

    NFIP News

    Communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) adopt and enforce regulations and codes that apply to new development in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). To improve resiliency and reduce future flood damage, these development regulations and codes also apply to existing struc-tures in an SFHA with proposed “substantial improvements” or repair of  “substantial damage.” Any structure modified more than 50 percent may be de-termined to be substantially improved or substantially damaged (SI/SD). Local community officials (typically floodplain administrators) are responsible for SI/SD determinations.
    Does your community have an established Substantial Improvement/Substantial Damage (SI/SD) process? Or has your community already imple-mented some of the essential components of the process: permitting, formal outreach, trained assessors? This Community Checklist will help you quickly de-termine which of these critical components your community has in place.

    Answer the following questions pertaining to each of the major steps in the SI/ SD process to help determine if your community is ready for an in-depth review of your SI/SD procedures. If you answer “yes” to 10 or more questions, your community is ready to complete the Guided Community Self-Assessment. The Guided Community Self-Assessment will walk you through a more detailed eval-uation of your community’s existing resources and the current strategies in place for SI/SD implementation.

    If you are unsure about the process, or if your community is unable to answer “yes” to 10 or more questions, please contact the state NFIP coordinator/state floodplain manager and/or FEMA for technical assistance on how your community can get essential SI/SD components in place.

    Additional Resources:
    Information on the NFIP regulations can be found online: http://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program/laws-and-regulations.

    FEMA 758: Substantial Improvement / Substantial Damage desk reference is the principle source of guidance for how to define and regulate SI/SD and provides detailed information about the inspection and determination process.

    FEMA 784 (The Substantial Damage Estimator Tool – 2017) provides a standardized approach to data collection management and the determi-nation of substantially damaged structures for local officials. This tool also includes template determination letters communities can utilize.

    Back to top

    Utah Risk MAP Corner

    We wanted to give you information on a great new Discussion Paper written and published by ASFPM Stormwater Management Committee. Here is the introduction from the paper and a link to the rest of the story.

    Urban Flood Hazards: Challenges and Opportunities ASFPM Storm-water Management Committee.

    INTRODUCTION: Urban flooding is a multifaceted hazard and has numerous causes. As defined in the recently published summary report of the 2019 Gilbert F. White National Flood Policy Forum published by the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) Foundation, Urban Flooding, Moving Towards Resilience, urban flooding is defined as “flooding that occurs in a densely populated area. Whatever the specific cause(s) of inundation—cloudburst, hurricane, groundwater seepage, river overflow, infrastructure failure stormwater systems are overwhelmed, and water accumulates in the paved-over, built up urban environment with nowhere to go.” The impacts of urban flooding, both financial and social, pose significant challenges to local government leaders, managers, and the citizens who reside in these at-risk communities. This discussion paper, developed by ASFPM’s Stormwater Management Committee, focuses on one specific area of urban flooding, mainly areas outside of riverine and coastal flooding zones that are inundated due to surface runoff, i.e. areas where excess stormwater runoff exceeds the conveyance capacity of pipe and roadway systems, resulting in flooding that inundates structures and prevents safe access for emergency vehicles and personnel. Specifically, this paper seeks to provide a discussion of the associated challenges of urban flooding, concepts related to planning and mitigation to reduce future food losses, and recommendations at the local and national scale to address urban flooding in communities nationwide.

    This paper provides background and discussion; however it does not represent a position or policy of the ASFPM, a non-profit organization dedicated to the No Adverse Impact approach to reducing flood losses and protecting floodplain functions and resources in the Unit-ed States. (floods.org)

    If you have any questions about this requirement or process, please feel free to reach out to Jamie Huff, Risk MAP Program Manager at [email protected].

    Back to top

    Silver Jackets

    USACE Silver Jackets at the Be Ready Utah Webinar

    Its 2020, Need We Say More? Utah State’s official emergency preparedness campaign, Be Ready Utah, recently held a public virtual conference to discuss preparedness for different disasters that have impacted the state this year. The two-day conference (13 – 14 November) held four different sessions each day. Sessions covered: pandemic preparedness, earthquakes, flood after fire, surviving without power, water storage, disaster mental health, conversations on preparedness, and disaster myths. The initial in-person presentation was scheduled for 13– 14 March but was cancelled due to COVID-19. The rescheduled virtual event in November was full, with over 140 participants and included interested homeowners to emergency management experts from all levels of government.

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Sacramento District’s Flood Risk Management (FRM) team members, Mr. Hunter Merritt, Ms. Elise Jarrett, and Ms. Danae Olsen collaborated with the Utah Division of Emergency Management’s Ms. Kathy Holder to discuss current flood after fire efforts and preparedness. The presentation gave a brief overview of the USACE’s role in preparing for post-wildfire flooding hazards, emergency preparedness, and flood risk preparedness.

    The Silver Jackets motto “Many Partners, One Team” was highlighted when discussing current flood after fire support to the Utah communities of Mapleton and Saratoga Springs. Both communities have experienced wildfires this year and the FRM team discussed how bringing together emergency management officials at the city, county, state and federal level, will better inform both Mapleton and Saratoga Springs of their flood after fire risks and generate ideas to mitigate those risks. One of the risk-mitigating tools mentioned was the Flood After Fire Toolkit. This toolkit has been developed for California and is easily transferable to communities across the mountain west. The FRM team also shared an upcoming (17 November 2020) free online training from the Watershed University, Preparing for Floods after Fires: Tools and Teams with webinar attendees.

    After introducing the USACE and Silver Jackets flood after fire support in Utah, the FRM team got into the bulk of their presentation and took participants on a journey through the hazards that can persist for weeks, months or even years following a wildfire. One of the main post-wildfire hazards covered in the presentation was debris flows. Post-wildfire debris flows occur when water runs downhill through burned areas creating major erosion and picking up large amounts of ash, sand, silt, rocks, boulders, and vegetation (trees, shrubs, plants). The anatomy of a debris flow was covered in detail with graphics that stressed how fast moving and highly destructive a debris flow can be. Throughout the presentation, the FRM team encouraged overall flood and debris flow preparedness and gave practical tips for community members such as “Do not walkthrough moving water or attempt to drive through flooded areas.”

    During the question answer session, Ms. Jarrett responded to a question regarding how wildfires effect soil properties by explaining that “When the ground burns at a high intensity for a long enough duration the soil particles, which include water repellant compounds, begin to vaporize and condense. When this happens a water repellent soil layer is formed causing water that otherwise would absorb into the ground to now run off downhill, which can lead to flash flooding and debris flows.”

    Overall, Ms. Olsen said, “the presentation went really well” and she and the whole FRM team are excited about continuing to build on the Be Ready Utah webinar momentum through future Utah flood risk education outreach and workshops.

    Back to top

    Upcoming Utah NFIP Trainings

    Utah Floodplain Management Weekly Lunch Time Webinar “Learn As You Lunch"

    This is a new weekly series for Utah Floodplain Management Administrators and their staff

    In this weekly virtual meeting, we will cover important floodplain management topics.  This will help you learn and stay in compliance with; your floodplain management program, the NFIP, floodplain regulation related to IBC, IRC Codes.  As well as ASCE 24, 7, and any other regulations that apply to Utah floodplain management. Each week we will cover one topic, how it relates to your community and your job in regulating the floodplain.

    Who Should Participate?

    All Utah Community Floodplain Administrators, POC’s, Emergency Managers, and those who will be regulating and inspecting your development sites in the Special Flood Hazard Area.  

    *Special Note: We are trying to help our local Floodplain Administrators (FPA) to know and understand their position. Many of our FPA’s have limited experience and we want to help you. I know you are all busy professionals with many different hats your wear in you daily job duties. This is a way to take a bit of time each week to become more proficient in floodplain

    Wednesdays at Noon

    Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone. https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/307529517

    You can also dial in using your phone. (For supported devices, tap a one-touch number below to join instantly.) United States: +1 (872) 240-3311 - One-touch: tel:+18722403311,,307529517# Access Code: 307-529-517

    Back to top

    Upcoming Mitigations Courses EMI

    We will be sending out information as we move our other trainings to webinar’s. Please check the ufsma.org website, and watch for announcements from Kathy Holder, State Floodplain Manager.

    For FEMA trainings please check the following websites:

     Full EMI Schedule: https://training.fema.gov/emicourses/schedules.aspx

    Catalog of available courses: https://www.firstrespondertraining.gov/frt/npccatalog/EMI


    Back to top

    Newsletter Contacts

    Newsletter Contacts:

    Kathy Holder, State Floodplain Manager

    801-538-3332   [email protected]


    Jamie Huff, State Riskmap Program Manager

    801-538-3752   [email protected]


    UFSMA Chair, Tom Wright

     [email protected]

    Newsletter Editor: Utah Floodplain Program


    Back to top