March 5, 2012
Governor signs proclamation for “Flood Safety Awareness Week”
Governor Sam Brownback has proclaimed March 12-16 as Flood Safety Awareness Week in Kansas, which coincides with the National Weather Service’s Flood Safety Awareness Week.
The Kansas Hazard Mitigation Plan prepared by Kansas Division of Emergency Management ranks flooding as the hazard with the highest risk factor in Kansas — higher than the risk factors for tornados, thunderstorms, and other types of disasters. The National Climatic Data Center Storm Events database, reports 1,941 flood events in Kansas since 2000. Total property and crop damage from these events is estimated at $356 million. There were also 16 deaths and 13 injuries related to these flood events during that time frame. These numbers suggest that Kansas experiences an average of 162 floods per year, $30 million in flood losses, and at least one flood-related injury and death each year. One death occurred in Leavenworth during 2011, related to flooding along the Missouri River.
Right: Governor Brownback’s Flood Safety Awareness Week proclamation signing ceremony was attended by representatives of DWR, the Kansas Department of Emergency Management and the Kansas Association for Floodplain Management. (Click to enlarge image.)
Most flood fatalities are caused by people attempting to drive through water. DWR’s Floodplain Management Team is encouraging community officials to use Flood Safety Awareness Week to educate the public and keep citizens safe from floods. Our flood safety web page has recently been updated and includes links to information about flood safety, an emergency supply kit checklist and a slideshow of flood safety pictures drawn by Emporia elementary school students.
DWR is responsible for coordinating the National Flood Insurance Program in Kansas. The chief engineer also regulates stream modifications and floodplain fills to protect public safety and prevent property damage. As part of our public safety role, we provide technical assistance to communities to help them develop floodplain management ordinances and meet other requirements of the program.
We urge everyone to join us in making 2012 a year without flood related deaths. Please remember the following tips to protect yourself and your property.
|FLOOD SAFETY TIPS
Kansas Dam Safety Conference continues to grow in popularity
DWR’s annual Kansas Dam Safety Conference took place Wednesday, Feb. 15, at the Kansas Museum of History. Bob Lienemann, of the Riley County Conservation District, said, “The conference makes me better at what I do and gave me a great overview, resources, and people I can go to. The museum was a clincher: it was a great setting and everyone looked at the exhibits during the break. I also liked seeing the young engineers there. They were coming to learn and build networks. Really, the conference had a bunch of people who wanted to be there.
This year’s conference drew 182 attendees, a 14 percent increase over last year’s attendance. More attendees came from watersheds, federal agencies, other states, and organizations concerned with dams, such as the Kansas Natural Resources Council and the Kansas Forest Service than previous years. Another increase of note included the attendance of 33 dam maintenance staff members representing the cities of Olpe, Eureka, Atchison, Horton, Lyndon, St. Marys, Gardner, Burlington, Bonner Springs, Hutchinson, Topeka, Lenexa, Andover, Osage City, Marysville, Manhattan and Sedgwick.
Changes made to the conference this year included:
- Using a state-owned location rather than a hotel to cut costs;
- Elimination of concurrent sessions because of space allotment;
- A one-day, rather than two-day, conference format based on previous audience feedback;
- Use of Kansas food products; and
- The introduction of informal roundtable discussions to encourage interactivity. Although the roundtable learning style was new to many, attendee reaction proved positive with many appreciating the presenter’s accessibility and opportunity to ask questions.
Right: DWR New Application’s Unit Head Doug Schemm answers questions during a roundtable discussion.
Several of the 24 presenters commented on what they learned at the conference. For example, Bob Schieffer, Nebraska-Kansas area manager, Bureau of Reclamation, who talked about maintenance and repair regarding Webster Dam, Glen Elder Dam, and Cedar Bluff Dam in Kansas, said he typically “doesn’t get east of Beloit” and had learned about Kansas topics and concerns.
A significant number of attendees noted their interest in the use of fire to control and promote specific vegetation on dams as well as the limitations of fire discussed by Clenton Owensby, range management specialist, Kansas State University. This information as it is developed and that of other presenters will be on the Dam Safety Toolbox in the near future. Available dam safety conference presentations will later be posted on DWR’s dam safety conference web page.
Staff News: Brenna Stebbins
As mentioned in the Feb. 20 edition of DWR Currents, DWR is in the process of hiring additional temporary support staff to help us catch-up with the significant work load of new applications and change applications, resulting from an overwhelming interest in the 2011 Drought Emergency Term Permit program. Our newest employee is Brenna Stebbins, who joined DWR staff on Feb. 20 as an administrative assistant.
“Right now, I am entering irrigation information, and I’ll be doing that for a while,” she said.
Previously, Stebbins worked in the KDA Food Safety and Lodging Program. She also brings experience from prior employment with the U.S. Department of Agriculture office in Ottawa, where she worked in the farm loan division. In her leisure time, Stebbins tends her 10 cows and rides her horse, Vandy.
- Mar. 8: Northwest Kansas GMD No. 4 Board Meeting (Colby)
- Mar. 8: Big Bend GMD No. 5 Board Meeting (Stafford)
- Mar. 13: Equus Beds GMD No. 2 Board Meeting (Halstead)
- Mar. 14: Southwest Kansas GMD No. 3 Annual and Board Meetings (Liberal)
- Mar. 20: Western Kansas GMD 1 Annual and Board Meetings (Sharon Springs)
- Mar 27-29: 45th Annual KRWA Conference (Wichita)