California Silver Jackets
The California Silver Jackets team brings together federal, state, regional, and local agencies to focus on the State's priorities for flood risk management. The program is designed to improve coordination, collaboration, and communication among disaster-response agencies at all levels of government before a disaster strikes in an effort to accelerate recovery afterwards. The program is led by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and empowered and supported by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). California became the 40th state to join the Silver Jackets disaster coordination program in November 2013. A formal team charter was signed in September 2016.
Several agencies, organizations, and educators were involved in this project, including DWR, USACE, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Weather Service, California Department of Education, Sacramento County Office of Education, Water Education Foundation/Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), and Green 360.
This project increases awareness of flood risk, especially among children, to enable them to prepare for and take action in case of a flood emergency. Additionally, this project improves USACE involvement in the Science Technology Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields, as well as Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.
Project partners developed the Simulated Water Management Model, an interactive computer model that invites middle and high school students to practice their critical thinking through flood simulation games. The project also produced a flood preparedness activity book for younger students. Copies of this activity book can be ordered from our website.
Silver Jackets partners DWR, California State Parks, and the City of West Sacramento produced an interactive, web-based story map . The story map uses open-source software (ESRI Story Maps) to present an interactive, online display of photos, maps, and videos designed to educate the audience on Sacramento’s flood risk and history. The pilot project was created for Sacramento and surrounding areas to increase public and policymaker awareness of flood risk, but can be updated for other regions of California.
FEMA and seven other federal agencies developed the "Know Your Line: Be Flood Aware" initiative to raise public awareness of flood risk. Communities participating in the initiative post high water mark signs in prominent places to showcase actual levels of historical high flood waters. The “You’re your Line” signs become a community tool to continually remind residents of their flood risk and promote actions to reduce risk. In California, the cities of Sacramento and Roseville are participating in this pilot program.
DWR and the USACE have embarked on a major study to evaluate the geotechnical adequacy of levees in California’s Central Valley (Sacramento and San Joaquin River Flood Reduction Systems). The study provides communities with information about the status of levees and information about geotechnical characteristics, which influence floodplain and flood risk management decisions.
Program benefits include improved flood risk management decision-making and flood protection. Identifying and repairing deficient levees will reduce the potential of flooding and loss of life from flood events.
Watershed University is a free event that provides education and networking opportunities for California professionals in floodplain management, water management, emergency management and related fields. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in partnership with California Department of Water Resources, CAL Fire, and Merced Office of Emergency Services (Merced OES), hosted this event in April 2016 at the Merced OES facility in Atwater and online. Participants earned continuing education credits from the Association of Floodplain Managers by attending the full two-day event online or in person. In 2017, Watershed University moved to a monthly webinar format.
- FEMA Flood Mapping
- National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Update
- California Water Action Plan Update
- Flood Risk Communication Tools, Tips and Techniques
- Climate Change and Drought Risk versus Flood Risk
- Partnering and Collaboration for Integrated Water (and Land) Management
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
- Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
- Silver Jackets
- US Army Corps of Engineers
- US Bureau of Reclamation
- US Geological Survey