Flood Recovery: Lessons Learned Along the Way


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Extreme weather is becoming more common in our region. Flood events can impact human health and safety, and result in substantial costs to property and infrastructure. Geared toward municipal decision makers and concerned citizens, this forum provides on-the-ground examples of flood resilience strategies that can help Hudson Valley communities minimize risks while conserving financial resources.

Presentation by Wayne Reynolds, Commissioner, Delaware County Department of Public Works for a flood management forum hosted by the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY on May 4, 2013.

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Flood Recovery: Lessons Learned Along the Way

  1. 1. Flood RecoveryFlood RecoveryLessons Learned Along theLessons Learned Along theWayWayPrepared For:Prepared For:The Cary InstituteThe Cary InstituteMay 4, 2013May 4, 2013By: Delaware County Department of Public WorksBy: Delaware County Department of Public Works
  2. 2. Requested topicsRequested topics How has Delaware County responded toHow has Delaware County responded tofloodsfloods Adaptations made to road infrastructureAdaptations made to road infrastructure Introduction to practices outside ofIntroduction to practices outside ofculvertsculverts Success stories and lessons learnedSuccess stories and lessons learned
  3. 3. OutlineOutline HistoryHistory EventsEvents Lessons LearnedLessons Learned Solutions that work for Delaware CountySolutions that work for Delaware County
  4. 4. Quick HistoryQuick History Open channel flowOpen channel flowTrapezoidal channelsTrapezoidal channelsUniform alignmentsUniform alignmentsLined for scour protectionLined for scour protectionBermed for flood protectionBermed for flood protection January 19, 1996January 19, 1996All new educationAll new education
  5. 5. FEMA Declared EventsFEMA Declared Events 11 events in 15 years11 events in 15 yearsJanuary 19, 1996January 19, 1996November 9, 1996November 9, 1996May 13, 2004May 13, 2004September 18, 2004September 18, 2004April 5, 2005April 5, 2005June 26, 2006June 26, 2006November 16, 2006November 16, 2006June 19, 2007June 19, 2007April 26, 2011April 26, 2011August 28, 2011August 28, 2011September 8, 2011September 8, 2011
  6. 6. Numerous Undeclared EventsNumerous Undeclared Events June 1996June 1996 July 1998July 1998 July 2008 (FHWA Declared)July 2008 (FHWA Declared) October 2010 (FHWA Declared)October 2010 (FHWA Declared)
  7. 7. June 2006June 2006 $14 million in damage$14 million in damage 14 bridges closed14 bridges closed 12 roads closed12 roads closed Wide spread damageWide spread damage Heavy damage on tributaries as opposedHeavy damage on tributaries as opposedto 1996 which involved the main stems into 1996 which involved the main stems inthe headwatersthe headwaters
  8. 8. June 2007June 2007 Localized eventLocalized event Watershed: 9.6 square milesWatershed: 9.6 square miles Extremely destructiveExtremely destructive 4 lives lost4 lives lost 1 never recovered1 never recovered Homes were lostHomes were lost 6 to 8 inches of rain in 2 hour period6 to 8 inches of rain in 2 hour periodSome reports of up to 11” in 4 hoursSome reports of up to 11” in 4 hours In excess of $12 million in damageIn excess of $12 million in damage
  9. 9. 2011 Event2011 Event 5 Bridges lost5 Bridges lost 20 damaged due to scour20 damaged due to scour Estimated $15 million in damageEstimated $15 million in damage Not as bad as Greene and Ulster CountiesNot as bad as Greene and Ulster Counties
  10. 10. Lessons LearnedLessons Learned We have to work with nature, we will notWe have to work with nature, we will notwin a battle with itwin a battle with it Keep big picture in mindKeep big picture in mind Monitor your workMonitor your work Flooding resilience is not cheapFlooding resilience is not cheap Important elementsImportant elementsAlignmentsAlignmentsHydraulic capacityHydraulic capacityScourScourStructure typesStructure types
  11. 11. AlignmentsAlignments
  12. 12. Town of HancockTown of HancockA Case StudyA Case Study Fish CreekFish Creek County Bridge on a Town RoadCounty Bridge on a Town Road Dead end roadDead end road Drainage Area: 11.29 square milesDrainage Area: 11.29 square miles
  13. 13. August 1978August 1978
  14. 14. June 1996June 1996
  15. 15. Fall 2003Fall 2003
  16. 16. Summer 2004Summer 2004
  17. 17. April 2005April 2005
  18. 18. June 2006June 2006
  19. 19. June 2006June 2006
  20. 20. Post June 2006Post June 2006
  21. 21. November 2006November 2006
  22. 22. Summer 2008Summer 2008
  23. 23. Summer 2008Summer 2008
  24. 24. September 2008September 2008
  25. 25. August 2011August 2011
  26. 26. August 2011August 2011
  27. 27. ColchesterColchester Horse BrookHorse BrookDamaged in 1996Damaged in 1996Cleaned outCleaned outTU poster childTU poster child• National recognitionNational recognition• DEP sponsored Dave RosgenDEP sponsored Dave RosgenDPW/TU CooperativeDPW/TU Cooperative
  28. 28. County Bridge 17-21County Bridge 17-21 Reconstructed in 1998Reconstructed in 1998 Stream Design by TUStream Design by TU Incorporated floodplain drainageIncorporated floodplain drainage Step pool designsStep pool designs Special issues due to confluence withSpecial issues due to confluence withBeaverkillBeaverkill Drainage area: 2.58 Square MilesDrainage area: 2.58 Square Miles Span: 17.3 feetSpan: 17.3 feet Opening: 121.1 square feetOpening: 121.1 square feet
  29. 29. Town of HancockTown of HancockLaing RoadLaing Road
  30. 30. Town of ColchesterTown of Colchester June, 2007June, 2007 County Route 7County Route 7 Watershed: 9.6 square milesWatershed: 9.6 square miles
  31. 31. BR 7-8
  32. 32. Watershed AreaWatershed Area .44 Square miles.44 Square miles 281 acres281 acres
  33. 33. ScourScour
  34. 34. 20072007
  35. 35. Watershed AreaWatershed Area 6.69 Square miles6.69 Square miles Span: 48 feetSpan: 48 feet
  36. 36. BR 7-5 approach slab
  37. 37. Solutions for Delaware CountySolutions for Delaware County Adopt hydraulic and hydrology standardsAdopt hydraulic and hydrology standards Three sided box culvertsThree sided box culverts Floodplain benchesFloodplain benches Floodplain drainageFloodplain drainage Geomorphology designsGeomorphology designsRock vanesRock vanesRoot wadsRoot wadsNatural vegetationNatural vegetation
  38. 38. Adopt StandardsAdopt Standards Standards adopted by the BOSStandards adopted by the BOS Our standards are sizing a replacementOur standards are sizing a replacementstructure to pass a Q 50 with 2 feet ofstructure to pass a Q 50 with 2 feet offreeboard or pass Q 100 with gravity flowfreeboard or pass Q 100 with gravity flowwhichever is shorterwhichever is shorter Standards require scour protection for theStandards require scour protection for thedesign stormdesign storm Standard is natural, living bottoms (threeStandard is natural, living bottoms (threesided boxes or bridges as preferredsided boxes or bridges as preferred Strict bridge takeover policyStrict bridge takeover policy
  39. 39. Three Sided BoxesThree Sided BoxesAdvantagesAdvantages More capacityMore capacity Square more efficient than roundSquare more efficient than round More scour protectionMore scour protection Better fish passageBetter fish passage Can precast in winterCan precast in winter
  40. 40. Floodplain DrainageFloodplain Drainage
  41. 41. Town of HamdenTown of Hamden 20112011 Existing Pipe: 9’ X 5’ elliptical CMPExisting Pipe: 9’ X 5’ elliptical CMP Watershed Area: 3.06 square milesWatershed Area: 3.06 square miles Q50: 586 cfsQ50: 586 cfs Q100: 681 cfsQ100: 681 cfs Design bankfull width: 16.7 feetDesign bankfull width: 16.7 feet
  42. 42. Town of StamfordTown of Stamford 20122012 Watershed Area: 4.69 square milesWatershed Area: 4.69 square miles Original crossing: 6’ diameter pipeOriginal crossing: 6’ diameter pipe Existing Capacity: less than Q 1.25Existing Capacity: less than Q 1.25 Q 50: 1195 cfsQ 50: 1195 cfs Q100: 1374 cfsQ100: 1374 cfs Construction Cost: $247,000Construction Cost: $247,000
  43. 43. Great PartnersGreat Partners Delaware County Soil and WaterDelaware County Soil and WaterConservation DistrictConservation District Delaware County Planning DepartmentDelaware County Planning Department Delaware County Watershed AffairsDelaware County Watershed Affairs New York City Department ofNew York City Department ofEnvironmental ProtectionEnvironmental Protection
  44. 44.  Design for good wildlife habitat and thereDesign for good wildlife habitat and thereis a very good chance that you will get ais a very good chance that you will get adurable infrastructure.durable infrastructure. Design for durable infrastructure and thereDesign for durable infrastructure and thereis a very good chance that you will get ais a very good chance that you will get adurable infrastructure.durable infrastructure.
  45. 45.  Life as we knew it seems to have passedLife as we knew it seems to have passed For whatever reason, the climate hasFor whatever reason, the climate haschangedchanged We need to really think about the futureWe need to really think about the future As an engineer, I am convinced that weAs an engineer, I am convinced that weneed to get homes and businesses out ofneed to get homes and businesses out ofthe floodplainsthe floodplains We really need to plan for future safetyWe really need to plan for future safety
  46. 46. Thank youThank you