High and Dry August 2020 Print

High and Dry


UFSMA 2020 (October 20-23):
(Utah Floodplain & Stormwater Management Conference) The UFSMA conference will be going virtual this year at a reduced rate. Register at ufsma.org

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As of July 19th of this year there have been 774 wildfires throughout the State of Utah with over 182,000 acres burned and 634 of the wildfires were started by humans. With all of these wildfires already occurring, now is a great time to remind yourself and the public about the increase in flood potential and debris flow hazards near these burned areas.

Wildfires burn vegetation and charr the soil to form a water repellent layer limiting infiltration. During the next rainfall event, the runoff potential of the soil is increased, and runoff will pick up more sediment and debris causing severe erosion, overwhelm existing drainage infrastructure, and flooding properties located downstream of the burned areas.

Common types of flooding that can occur after a fire are flash floods and mudflows/debris flows. Flash floods are typically from short intense rainfalls and can cause boulders to tear out trees and damage buildings and bridges. Mudflows/Debris Flows are more likely to occur after a wildfire because of the barren soil conditions and can cause significant property damage or loss of life. Alluvial fan floodplains in urbanized areas are especially susceptible to these types of flooding downstream of burned watersheds

Floodplain administers, public officials, and civil engineers are key into informing the public of the increased hazard and the best way to do this is communication, communication, communication. When communicating with the public about possible flood events simple, clear, easy to understand methods are best. Simple inundation maps, educational resources such as the FEMA website (https://www.fema.gov/flood-after-fire), videos, or infographics are effective tools to help educate the public.

Interagency communication is also essential when it comes to communicating risks and ensuring that policies are implemented that will minimize risk to the public. For example, how flood potential after a fire could impact building codes or if decisions regarding infrastructure or development based on the effective FEMA floodplain maps is still appropriate.

One last thought on fire to flood is that it is anticipated that as climate change occurs, it will lengthen the wildfire season with hotter and drier weather. Additionally, there will be shorter more intense rainfall events which will increase the probability of significant flooding and mudflow/debris flows occurring each year. We should all strive to be better prepared and inform the public of these hazards.

Cameron Jenkins, PE, CFM

UFSMA Board Member

[email protected]


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Welcome New Members

This year will be a little different for our new members. Usually we meet together in person at our annual conference. This year we will meet together for a virtual conference. We still hold our education and networking capabilities as very important. We will work hard to keep those items going even in the COVID-19 times. We are here to help and serve you as a Board. Feel free to reach out to us with questions and concerns. 

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Mitigation Practice

Notice of Funding Opportunity for Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grants FY2020 Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities

 Fiscal Year 2020 Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is making federal funds available through the new Building Resilient Infrastructures and Communities (BRIC) grant program to states, local communities, tribes and territories (SLTTs) for pre-disaster mitigation activities. BRIC is a new FEMA pre-disaster hazard mitigation program that replaces the existing Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) program. The BRIC priorities are to:

  • incentivize public infrastructure projects;
  • incentivize projects that mitigate risk to one or more lifelines;
  • incentivize projects that incorporate nature-based solutions; and,
  • incentivize adoption and enforcement of modern building codes.


Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) will support states, local communities, tribes and territories as they undertake hazard mitigation projects, reducing the risks they face from disasters and natural hazards. The BRIC program guiding principles are supporting communities through capability- and capacity-building; encouraging and enabling innovation; promoting partnerships; enabling large projects; maintaining flexibility; and providing consistency.

The Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program aims to categorically shift the federal focus away from reactive disaster spending and toward research-supported, proactive investment in community resilience. FEMA anticipates BRIC funding projects that demonstrate innovative approaches to partnerships, such as shared funding mechanisms, and/or project design. For example, an innovative project may bring multiple funding sources or in-kind resources from a range of private and public sector stakeholders or offer multiple benefits to a community in addition to the benefit of risk reduction.

 Available Funding

For FY20, FEMA will distribute up to $500 million through the BRIC grant program in the following manner:

  • State/Territory Allocation: $33.6 million (up to $600,000 per Applicant). All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories may apply under the State/Territory Allocation.
  • Tribal Set-Aside: $20 million. All Indian tribal governments (federally recognized) may apply under the Tribal Set-Aside.
  • National Competition for Mitigation Projects: $446.4 million (estimated). Remaining funds which are not awarded from the State/Territory Allocation or Tribal Set-Aside will be included in the national competition


Cost Share

A cost share is required for all subapplications funded under this program. The non-federal cost share may consist of cash, donated or third-party in-kind services, materials, or any combination thereof.

  • Generally, the cost share for this program is 75 percent federal/25 percent non-federal.


Application and Funding Deadlines

To apply for funding made available for FY20 through the BRIC program, Applicants must adhere to the following Application and funding deadlines:

Application Opening: September 30, 2020

  • Eligible Applicants must apply for funding using the new FEMA Grants Outcome (FEMA GO), which is now the management system for BRIC. The development of FEMA GO was a multi-year effort to modernize and transform the way FEMA conducts grants management. FEMA GO will streamline the process to apply for, track, and manage FEMA grants.
  • To apply, please visit https://go.fema.gov/.


Application Deadline: January 29, 2021 (3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time)

Eligibility Information

To be eligible for BRIC funding, FEMA will require the applicants and subapplicants listed below to have a current FEMA-approved Hazard Mitigation Plan at time of application and award.

For more information see https://www.fema.gov/grants/mitigation/building-resilient-infrastructure-communities

Eric Martineau

Mitigation & Recovery


[email protected]


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Flood After Fire: The Increased Risk and how to mitagate some of that risk.

Floods are the most common and costly natural hazard in the nation. After a wildfire, the flood risk increases significantly. The time to buy flood insurance is now. Residents and business owners need to protect their homes and assets from the devastating financial losses from a flood, especially after a wildfire, before the next weather event occurs.

Large-scale wildfires dramatically alter the terrain and ground conditions. Normally, vegetation absorbs rainfall, reducing runoff. However, wildfires leave the ground charred, barren, and unable to absorb water, creating conditions ripe for flash flooding and mudflow. Flood risk remains significantly higher until vegetation is restored—up to 5 years after a wildfire.

Flooding after a fire is often more severe, as debris and ash left from the fire can form mudflows. As rainwater moves across charred and denuded ground, it can also pick up soil and sediment and carry it in a stream of floodwaters. This can cause more significant damage.
Residents and business owners are urged to purchase flood insurance now to assure financial protection from flooding. By law, there is a 30-day waiting period from the date of purchase until the flood insurance coverage takes effect with very few exceptions:

30 day exception

FEMA determines that the property covered by the policy is affected by flooding on Federal land that is a result of, or exacerbated by, post-wildfire conditions.

• the purchase of insurance is in connection with the extension, or renewal of a loan;

• the initial purchase is in connection with a revision or update to a Flood Insurance Rate Map and within 13 months of the revision or update; and

*Ask your insurance agent about these exceptions.

A flood does not have to be a catastrophic event to bring high out-of-pocket costs, and you do not have to live in a high-risk flood area to suffer flood damage. Around twenty percent of flood insurance claims occur in moderate-to-low risk areas. Property owners should remember to:

• Buy Flood Insurance. Most standard homeowner’s policies do not cover flood damage. Flood insurance is affordable, and important to protecting your investment. An average flood policy costs around $890 a year, and rates start at less than $516 a year for homes in moderate- to low-risk areas.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

• Prepare Now. Gather supplies in case of a storm, strengthen your home against damage, and review your insurance coverages. No flood insurance? Remember: it typically takes 30 days for a new flood insurance policy to go into effect, so get your policy now.

• Plan Ahead. Plan evacuation routes. Keep important papers in a safe, waterproof place. Conduct a home inventory; itemize and take pictures of possessions and the inside and outside of your home.

For more information about flood insurance, please call your insurance agent or contact the National Flood Insurance Program Call Center (NFIP) at 1-800-621-3362 for information about the NFIP or questions about an existing policy.

 Visit the National Flood Insurance Program at:

www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program to learn more about flood risk and flood insurance.

or visit 

Utah Floodplain Program
State of Utah - Division of Emergency Management -Floodplain Program


or https://www.gotostage.com/channel/utahfloodfacts

or visit https://dem.utah.gov/floodfacts/ 

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Utah Risk MAP Corner

Updating Your Community’s Flood Maps

Ask yourself these questions. As a local official, are you certain where all of your flood risk is located within your community? Are your flood maps accurate? Are you aware of areas that flood that are not mapped? Are you making the best floodplain permitting determinations on the flood risk data available (not just based on the NFIP Flood Insurance Rate Maps)? An NFIP community should be reviewing all development in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) to determine its impact on the floodplain.

According to the Code of Federal Regulations (44 CFR 65.3) “A community's base flood elevations may increase or decrease resulting from physical changes affecting flooding conditions. As soon as practicable, but not later than six months after the date such information becomes available, a community shall notify the Administrator of the changes by submitting technical or scientific data in accordance with this part. Such a submission is necessary so that upon confirmation of those physical changes affecting flooding conditions, risk premium rates and flood plain management requirements will be based upon current data.”

If the development affects flood conditions, in Utah, currently there are two options available to update flood maps. A community has a responsibility to provide information to FEMA through the Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) process when development within the floodplain changes the effective flood data. These changes come with a fee, but do not let the fee or process time prevent you from submitting or requiring the information, it may prevent a possible violation. As a community you can either choose to cover these cost or transfer these cost to the developer. Make plans ahead of time to discuss this with the developer so they are not caught off guard. This is a quicker option for updating your maps.

New LIDAR (digital topography data) may be available for your community. If you have identified the flood risk in your community to be outdated set funds aside to develop a study and provide it to FEMA. This will save time and effort reviewing floodplain permit applications and may save your residents in flood insurance.

A note about Large Scale map updates performed by the State of Utah. Currently, the State of Utah is a Cooperating Technical Partner (CTP) with FEMA. As funding is sought and is available through FEMA, large scale (county-wide or larger) revisions are performed. A community should not wait for studies to occur to revise their flood maps. Counties are prioritized based on population, age, and validity of maps, funding availability, among other factors. These studies are lengthy, taking approximately 5-7 years to complete due to project size.

As a community, whatever you decide, it is necessary that maps are kept up-to-date to ensure the public is aware of the risk, that the development taking place in your community meets NFIP requirements, and that development you plan and permit is not increasing the risk, even in those unmapped areas. Always keep in mind that flood risk is not static and changes over time and many flood risk areas in Utah are not mapped, the risk could be there, it just is not mapped. Ensuring floodplain permits that are approved using the best data available will save you time, effort and insurance premiums in the future.

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].

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Upcoming Utah NFIP Trainings

Two great learning opportunities brought to you virtually from the Utah Division of Emergency Management's - State Floodplain Program. 




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.  

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

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Upcoming Mitigations Courses EMI

Upcoming Mitigations Courses EMI

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

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









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Silver Jackets

Utah Silver Jackets Supports Saratoga Springs Post Wildfire Response

By Rachael Orellana, Utah USACE Silver Jackets Coordinator 

At the end of June 2020, approximately 13,000 acres burned in and around the city of Saratoga Springs, destroying several major drainage ways located above highly developed areas causing concern for resulting flood and debris flows.  In early July, Ms. Rachael Orellana, Flood Risk Program Manager and Ms. Elise Jarrett, Water Resources Planner, held a meeting with eight team members from Sacramento District USACE, Albuquerque District USACE, USACE Engineering and Research and Development Lab (ERDC), Ms. Kathy Holder, Utah State Floodplain Manager, UT DEM, and the City of Saratoga Springs, UT to identify ways current alluvial fan mapping study efforts could support post-wildfire recovery efforts for Saratoga Springs.  The group identified a clear path forward to provide support, ERDC will take the lead on hydrologic modeling efforts to determine flow estimates, which will help inform mitigation strategies to minimize impacts, USACE Sacramento and Albuquerque Districts will assist.  The team started preliminary analyses on the fans to perform a more in-depth assessment on their hazard and risk as well as hydraulic modeling. Fan contours and boundaries are currently being developed.

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Silver Jackets 2

Utah Silver Jackets Support of the Skull Valley Goshute Tribe Highlighted in Recent National Presentation

By Rachael Orellana, Utah USACE Silver Jackets Coordinator and Melissa Weymiller, USACE Flood Risk Management Project Manager

The Utah Silver Jackets team efforts to support the Skull Valley Goshute Tribe were highlighted in a recent presentation to the National Silver Jacket Team.  The presentation featured highlights of the range of projects that the Sacramento and Baltimore Districts are accomplishing through the Silver Jackets Program, illustrating how Silver Jackets helps Federal, State and local partners to work together through the collaboration continuum to move from fragmented services and sectors to partnership and shared flood risk responsibility.  On July 20, 2020, Ms. Rachael Orellana, Flood Risk Program Manager, Ms. Melissa Weymiller, Flood Risk Project Manager and Ms. Stacey Underwood, Baltimore District Silver Jackets Coordinator, co-presented to over 25 representatives of the National Silver Jackets Team, organized by Ms. Ellen Berggren, the Deputy for the National Silver Jackets Program from the USACE Institute for Water Resources.  Attendees included representatives from NASA, EPA, FEMA, NWS, Office of Coastal Management, USGS, Western Governor’s Association, Wildland Fire Leadership Council and NPS. 

The presentation mentioned just how important it is that we continue sharing resources and move toward shared responsibility.  This cannot be done through one conversation or even one project, it takes multiple projects or activities to really make that collective impact. Often there are setbacks, and misunderstandings, where you have to start over on the collaboration continuum.  It can be difficult to work with the federal government if a tribe, community, or even another agency feels they have been let down before, so even getting to the communication stage can be difficult.  Often there are also issues with turnover, not only in the agencies providing support, but also with these communities.  We realize that we may need to reach out multiple times to get a response.  Silver Jackets projects build off of each other to move agencies from fragmented services and sectors to partnership and shared responsibility.

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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


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