Where we work

The FloodWise Community Assistance program provides free technical assistance and customized research to communities across the country to decrease flood risk.

Three Forks, MT

Accessing federal funding

The problem: New flood risk maps indicate that flood risk in Three Forks (pop. 1,700) is far higher than previously understood.

How we helped: We helped Three Forks understand and prioritize its range of options to decrease flood risk. We hired an engineering firm to conduct a feasibility study of mitigation options. Their study demonstrated that building a wide, shallow conveyance channel would divert flood water around and away from the city. The $5 million project will remove 90% of homes from the floodplain. We also helped craft a funding strategy, assisted with grant writing, and conducted community outreach. As a result, Three Forks secured a $4.15 million FEMA Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) Grant for the project. We also helped the city establish a special improvement district to raise revenue for the federal cost-share and ongoing maintenance.

What’s a mitigation project? Mitigation refers to projects or activities that reduce (or “mitigate”) flood risk before a disaster occurs. Mitigation projects include elevating homes, removing homes from the floodplain, creating water storage or green spaces to absorb flood water, and creating evacuation plans and warning systems. These projects are proactive, long-term solutions to reducing flood risk.

Manhattan, KS

Creating local funding for mitigation

The problem: Manhattan (pop. 55,000) frequently floods and needs a comprehensive mitigation plan.

How we helped: We researched a range of options for funding mitigation projects. We presented to the city commission the benefits of increasing the city’s stormwater utility fee to create a mitigation reserve fund. The funding would be used as a match for federal and state grants and to develop a long-term strategy for mitigation projects. We also researched the long-term costs of green infrastructure to ensure that Manhattan’s budget planning accounts for both implementation and ongoing costs of critical mitigation projects.

Glendive & Dawson County, MT

Working well with multiple partners

The problem: Ice jams on the Yellowstone River can cause major flooding in Glendive (pop. 5,000) and Dawson County (pop. 9,000). Outdated floodplain maps do not capture the full risk.

How we helped: We helped coordinate a mitigation study between the City of Glendive and Dawson County, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA and the state Dept. of Natural Resources. Since the state will be remapping flood risk while the Army Corps is conducting its study, coordination between the two government agencies is critical to prevent conflicting data and solutions. A primary concern is a mobile home park near the river where we have helped coordinate community outreach to explore options that can make the community safer.

Williston, ND

Making the most of stormwater runoff

The problem: Williston (pop. 30,000) has long experienced flash-flooding from stormwater runoff.

How we helped: We helped conduct a feasibility study to identify how stormwater detention facilities could be built to provide multiple benefits to the community, including recreational opportunities. We also are engaging stakeholders and providing outreach to ensure the project meets community needs.