A program of

FloodWise Community Assistance is a program of Headwaters Economics, an independent, nonprofit research group that works to improve community development and land management decisions. Headwaters Economics conducts economic research, translates data and research into information that people can use, and offers policy insights to advance community solutions. Collectively, our programs advance solutions for underserved populations, particularly in rural places, and communities threatened by climate-driven disasters. 

FloodWise Community Assistance provides free technical assistance and customized research to help reduce flood risk and strengthen communities. We partner with local governments and other stakeholders to support project planning, capacity building, and customized research.

Our Team

Patty Hernandez

Patty Hernandez is co-founder and Executive Director of Headwaters Economics. Patty has 18 years of experience in researching economic development, building partnerships, and developing technology solutions to help communities plan and adapt to a changing world.

Kris Smith, Ph.D.

Kris is an applied researcher with a unique ability to understand the connections between public finance, natural resources, and economic development. As part of Headwaters Economics’ FloodWise Community Assistance team, Kris works with local governments and technical experts to help communities reduce flood risk.

Bridget Mitchell, PE

Bridget leads flood mitigation technical assistance at Headwaters Economics’ FloodWise Community Assistance program. She is a professional engineer with more than 20 years of experience working with communities to provide permitting, design, planning, and construction services.

Kelly Pohl

Kelly is Associate Director of Headwaters Economics. With more than a decade of experience in nonprofit leadership, she oversees operations and quality control, tracks national policies, coordinates communications, and manages programs to meet organizational goals.

Nathan Kommers

Nate leads communications and media relations at Headwaters Economics. With more than two decades of experience in nonprofit, government, and corporate environments he is helping bring Headwaters’ research and expertise to those that need it most.


The FloodWise Community Assistance program began in 2020 with our pilot program in Three Forks, Montana. The program was created to support the efforts of rural and low-income communities working to reduce flood risk. We modeled the program after our successful Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire (CPAW) program, which has provided free technical assistance to more than 75 communities to reduce wildfire risk.

The FloodWise Community Assistance program is affiliated with FloodWise Communities, a program of GLISA, SCIPP, Stanford University, Adaptation International, and Headwaters Economics, that tests and improves methods and technologies to engage practitioners in planning for extreme weather events and impacts on stormwater systems. FloodWise Communities is endorsed by National League of Cities, National Association of Counties, National Association of Development Organizations.