Posts Tagged ‘flood’

Elevation and Floodproofing Workshop Advances Flood Mitigation

Posted on: April 12th, 2019 by Brent Gotsch
A workshop participant observes an engineered flood vent at the Elevation and Floodproofing Workshop held on March 26 and 27, 2019. Photo by Tim Koch.

A work­shop par­tic­i­pant observes an engi­neered flood vent at the Ele­va­tion and Flood­proof­ing Work­shop held on March 26 and 27, 2019. Photo by Tim Koch.

 

Poten­tially thou­sands of struc­tures across the NYC West of Hud­son Water­shed are located within mapped FEMA flood­plains. Many are located in down­town ham­let areas and are vital to the local econ­omy. More intense flood events and ris­ing flood insur­ance rates are threat­en­ing these struc­tures and the com­mu­ni­ties that rely on them for tax base, habi­ta­tion, eco­nomic activ­ity, and sense of place.

Prop­erty own­ers in flood zones are advised to reduce their flood risks and take action. A range of risk reduc­tion mea­sures are being tested and imple­mented across the coun­try. The Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram brought speak­ers with national exper­tise to the region on March 26 and 27 to deliver a work­shop for local offi­cials to learn more about ele­va­tion and flood­proof­ing of struc­tures. The work­shop was held at the Emer­son Inn in Mount Trem­per and attended by nearly 50 build­ing depart­ment and other offi­cials from Ulster, Greene, Sul­li­van, and Delaware counties.

The work­shop fea­tured pre­sen­ters from Ducky John­son Home Ele­va­tions out of Hara­han, LA, and con­sul­tants recently retired from the NYS Dept. of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion and the U.S. Army Corps of Engi­neers.

“Every dol­lar spent on mit­i­ga­tion saves six dol­lars in recov­ery costs,” said Rod Scott of Ducky John­son. “Ele­va­tion and dry flood proof­ing are proven flood haz­ard mit­i­ga­tion tech­niques used to reduce flood risk and flood insur­ance pre­mi­ums,” he said.

In the 2018 hur­ri­cane sea­son alone, U.S. ter­ri­to­ries expe­ri­enced 15 storms and 8 hur­ri­canes respon­si­ble for $50 bil­lion in dam­age. In response to this “new nor­mal” of bil­lions in annual losses due to prop­erty dam­age, Con­gress has man­dated flood insur­ance rate hikes for struc­tures with mort­gages in the FEMA floodplain.

“Ele­vat­ing or flood­proof­ing struc­tures pro­vides a way for com­mu­ni­ties to keep their build­ing stock, and their tax base sta­ble while also decreas­ing flood insur­ance pre­mi­ums for the own­ers and less­en­ing their risk of flood-related dam­age,” said Brent Gotsch, Resource Edu­ca­tor for Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster County and orga­nizer of the work­shop. “With increas­ing pre­cip­i­ta­tion pat­terns and more dam­ag­ing flood events, it’s vital that com­mu­ni­ties con­sider using these meth­ods to adapt and become more resilient,” he added.

Elevation and Floodprooging Workshop participants view an elevated home in Mount Tremper, NY. Photo by Brent Gotsch

Ele­va­tion and Flood­proof­ing Work­shop par­tic­i­pants view an ele­vated home in Mount Trem­per, NY. Photo by Brent Gotsch

 

Dur­ing the work­shop, local code offi­cials learned the dif­fer­ences between wet and dry flood­proof­ing and effec­tive ele­va­tion meth­ods for struc­tures. They learned how these prac­tices change flood insur­ance pre­mi­ums and how sim­ple mea­sures such as filling-in a base­ment can reduce pre­mi­ums by hun­dreds or even thou­sands of dollars.

A bus tour showed par­tic­i­pants local exam­ples of struc­tures retro­fit­ted with ele­va­tion and flood­proof­ing mea­sures. At one prop­erty, water­tight shields were installed to pre­vent water from flow­ing into the liv­ing area. Another stop fea­tured a res­i­dence with engi­neered “smart vents” that allow water to safely flow under­neath the structure’s first floor and equal­ize poten­tially dan­ger­ous pres­sures that could buckle the foundation.

At the end of the work­shop, local offi­cials left with increased knowl­edge about how to prop­erly retro­fit flood­prone struc­tures. Going for­ward, county part­ners plan to work with local munic­i­pal­i­ties to iden­tify and access fund­ing for ele­va­tion and flood­proof­ing projects and min­i­mize costs to prop­erty owners.

Addi­tional pre­sen­ta­tions by the Catskill Water­shed Cor­po­ra­tion, the NYS Divi­sion of Home­land Secu­rity and Emer­gency Ser­vices, and FEMA informed par­tic­i­pants about poten­tial fund­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for ele­va­tion and flood­proof­ing projects. Pre­sen­ters walked through the appli­ca­tion process and gave advice on how to cre­ate a strong application.

Fund­ing for the work­shop was pro­vided by the New York City Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion.

A manager of a local bank branch shows Elevation and Floodproofing Workshop participants how they install the floodproofing barriers. Photo by Tim Koch.

The man­ager of a local bank branch shows Ele­va­tion and Flood­proof­ing Work­shop par­tic­i­pants how they install flood­proof­ing bar­ri­ers. Photo by Tim Koch.

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Olive Engineering Consultant Talks Flooding and Requests Resident Assistance

Posted on: July 15th, 2015 by Brent Gotsch

On July 14, the Town of Olive Flood Advi­sory Com­mit­tee (FAC) held a  meet­ing with town res­i­dents and Woidt Engi­neer­ing and Con­sult­ing to review ini­tial find­ings for the Local Flood Analy­sis (LFA)  in the ham­lets of Boiceville and West Shokan. George Fowler, an engi­neer with Woidt and the project lead for the LFAs, described what he and his team have dis­cov­ered. Woidt Engi­neer­ing and the Olive FAC will work together over the next few months to ana­lyze the pos­si­ble mit­i­ga­tion options for the ham­lets. Once these options are iden­ti­fied they will be run through the Benefit-Cost Analy­sis (BCA) process to deter­mine eli­gi­bil­ity for mul­ti­ple fund­ing sources. You can help with this process by fill­ing out a ques­tion­naire to report dam­ages to your home or busi­ness. This infor­ma­tion will used dur­ing the BCA process. The more infor­ma­tion we receive the bet­ter! It will be used to develop the most accu­rate results pos­si­ble. The form can be down­loaded here or picked up at the Olive Town Hall.

Not sur­pris­ingly, inun­da­tion of the busi­ness dis­trict in Boiceville is a major con­cern. George and his team showed how the high and tight val­ley wall forces the Eso­pus Creek to flood areas in that dis­trict dur­ing high flows. More analy­sis is needed but ini­tial find­ings show  there may be poten­tial to recon­nect the stream with its flood­plain just upstream of the Five Arch Bridge. Build­ing a flood­plain here may help keep water out of the busi­ness dis­trict or lessen the amount of water there. That project would likely require relo­cat­ing the fire depart­ment build­ing and other struc­tures in order to make room for water storage.

In West Shokan, the major prob­lems are asso­ci­ated with debris jams and sed­i­ment buildup. One of the major con­cerns for res­i­dents and Town offi­cials is the gravel bar just upstream of the Bushkill Bridge. The con­cern is that if the gravel bar grows it could cause an obstruc­tion that dam­ages or destroys the Bridge, cut­ting res­i­dents off from emer­gency ser­vices. George explained that we are liv­ing with the legacy of his­tor­i­cal human man­age­ment of the stream, namely the defor­esta­tion of the land­scape that occurred in the 19th Cen­tury that caused large pulses of sed­i­ment to enter the stream cor­ri­dors, and more recently dredg­ing and berming of mate­r­ial on stream banks that cre­ates unsta­ble stream cor­ri­dors. As with Boiceville, more analy­sis is needed, but one idea to explore is restor­ing appro­pri­ate stream chan­nel dimen­sions to help move sed­i­ment and debris through that area with­out undue buildup.

 

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Olive Residents: Flooding Problems?

Posted on: April 16th, 2015 by Brent Gotsch

If you are a res­i­dent of the Town of Olive and want to either view or add to flood maps you are wel­come to stop by the AWSMP office between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm, Mon­day through Fri­day.  Recently, the Town of Olive Town Board heard a pre­sen­ta­tion from Woidt Engi­neer­ing and Con­sult­ing on the Local Flood Analy­sis (LFA) process and how it will ben­e­fit the Town. Part of the pre­sen­ta­tion focused on Woidt’s desire to learn more from Olive res­i­dents about haz­ardous flood areas. Woidt cre­ated a set of maps where res­i­dents can mark  loca­tions of con­cern or known flood­ing and ero­sion haz­ards. Woidt will use the infor­ma­tion to exam­ine flood­ing solu­tions.  The maps are posted at the AWSMP office at 3130 State Route 28 in Shokan, NY (located between Ashokan Turf and Tim­ber and the Shokan Square plaza, across from the Citgo gas sta­tion). The maps will be avail­able for approx­i­mately three more weeks before they are returned to Woidt. For more infor­ma­tion on the LFA process in Olive please visit our office or view the Town of Olive web­site.

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Living by the Waterfront class offered March 21

Posted on: February 18th, 2015 by Brent Gotsch

Are you a prospec­tive home­owner think­ing of buy­ing water­front prop­erty? Do you already own water­front prop­erty but are con­fused about flood insur­ance or how to limit flood dam­ages? If so, you should attend the class “Liv­ing by the Waterfront—Keeping Dry When the Waters Rise”  at Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster County, 232 Plaza Road in Kingston, NY on March 21, 2015 from 9:00am to Noon. Cost to attend is $10 per per­son or $15 per cou­ple. Water­shed Edu­ca­tor Brent Gotsch will teach the class on what prospec­tive prop­erty own­ers should think about before pur­chas­ing water­front prop­erty. Reg­is­ter online by March 15. Con­tact Heather Eckardt at he54@cornell.edu or call 845–688-3047 for ques­tions about registration.

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