Zumbro & Friends
FLOOD MITIGATION PROJECT
Diane Wiley (email@example.com), Water Resources Center, MSM
Dr. Stephen Druschel (firstname.lastname@example.org) Dept. of Mechanical and Civil Engineering, MSM
John Homme (email@example.com) Chairman, Zumbro & Friends
Funding Provided By: Minnesota State Legislature
Project Duration: 2012-2013
Flood Mitigation Study
Zumbro River Watershed, Minnesota
Flood mitigation of the Zumbro River was studied by students and faculty of Minnesota State University, Mankato, in response to effects of the September 2010 flood event. A topographic surface model of the watershed was built using State of Minnesota remote sensing data obtained for four counties for approximately 150 river miles. A hydraulic corridor was defined for the river by cutting river cross sections at 2765 locations. Bridges and other river crossings were field measured and river geometry verified. Rainfall events and storm water runoff were incorporated into the hydraulic model as inflow, developed from a review of Doppler radar observations, probabilistic characterization of precipitation, and a probabilistic river flow database.
Anecdotal measurements of flood levels and timings were recorded via public outreach and commentary as well as public records. A river flow model was created using the widely-accepted US Army Corps of Engineers software HEC-RAS, which allows prediction of flood levels depending upon rainfall and runoff conditions. However, calibration of the model was not accomplished at this time due to limitations of time and budget after receiving the public input.
Six public meetings were used to explore flood mitigation strategies and specific measures of: (1) infiltration and impoundments; (2) walls and levee structures; (3) do nothing and accept the risk; and (4) relocation and repurposing land.
The river flow model is made freely available to both government agencies and non-governmental organizations as well as the Zumbro watershed citizenry to help the people of the Zumbro watershed consider responses to past flood events and build protection from future flood events.
Zumbro & Friends Project Early Reports
Summary: Southeastern Minnesota flooding is costing local communities, the state and federal government millions of dollars. These floods have wrought devastation upon the lives of the people in these rural communities who are our neighbors and a vital part of the fabric of Minnesota. At the same time,the floods have been a reset event, which has provided the opportunity to go forward with a new start. The Zumbro Watershed can't be looked upon as an unmanaged problem, but as a tremendous resource to many communities within its boundaries.
Zumbro & Friends was formed in response to the devastating September 2010 Zumbro River flooding. It is a true grassroots organization that is comprised of local citizens that are partnering with three established non-profit organizations-- the Zumbro Watershed Partnership, Coming Alongside, and Renewing the Countryside--- and the academic community to form an Executive Steering Committee. The common goal for this work is the development of a comprehensive Watershed Flood Control and Mitigation Plan.
Zumbro & Friends seeks to foster relationships between the faith community, private sector, local government agencies, regulating and supporting agencies, legislators and the citizens who live in the Zumbro Watershed. By working proactively, across community boundaries and across sectors, Zumbro & Friends hopes to develop a comprehensive, coordinated, multi-county development plan that can be applied to other parts of the state.
Project Documents:Project and Partner Overview
Download "Flood Mitigation Study Update" 7-24-13
In addition to past efforts and research projects, there are a number of uncoordinated efforts underway with various scopes, magnitudes and outcomes that are striving for a similar goal, but to date have not been comprehensively coordinated. It is the latter that has brought forth the genesis of Zumbro & Friends and this proposal to develop a COMPREHENSIVE Watershed Flood Control and Mitigation Plan. It is time to bring these past efforts together and develop the right course of action at a watershed level.
How Will This Be Accomplished?
Zumbro & Friends has developed strategic partnerships that will coalesce into a purpose that is larger than the sum of their parts. Zumbro & Friends recognizes that a comprehensive watershed flood control and mitigation plan not only requires technical hydraulic and engineering experts, but also a comprehensive civic engagement strategy. Zumbro & Friends has already developed the necessary partnerships to accomplish these tasks. The watershed contains stakeholders with varying interests across numerous political boundaries; and because water does not recognize political boundaries, Zumbro & Friends strategic partnerships will aid in establishing a temporary Joint Powers Organization to coordinate authority across these boundaries.
The Zumbro River Watershed is located in southeastern Minnesota and includes portions of Rice, Goodhue, Wabasha, Steele, Dodge and Olmsted counties. It encompasses 1,422 square miles (~1 million acres) and is populated by approximately 170,000 people.
Millions of dollars have been diverted to reactive flood cleanup efforts; whereas the communities believe proactive funding could help prevent this level of devastation from occurring again. The full economic impact will likely remain unknown due to the massive volunteer efforts that came together to support the local communities – but it is undoubtedly significant.
Why "Now" and Why "This Approach"
The response to the 2010 disaster was an example of how governments, businesses, and residents in this region recognize the importance of working together across civic and community boundaries for a common goal. The convergence of energies and partners in this time and this place bring a unique opportunity to create a model for flood mitigation across the state and beyond. Floods, and the devastation they cause, are not unique to the Zumbro River region. However, here in southeastern Minnesota, we are recognized as having some of the best working relationships across sectors – not only in the state, but regionally and nationally.
Capitalizing on this momentum could reap benefits not just in the Zumbro River region, but for flood mitigation efforts statewide. In the last five years alone, the state of Minnesota has seen major flood devastation throughout the state. These are repeated patterns for which viable solutions have been difficult to find. It is time for a fresh approach, a proactive approach, a cross-community, cross-sector approach. This approach will not only provide much needed infrastructure along the Zumbro Watershed, but it could serve as a blueprint for similar regions across the state of Minnesota.
Although the timing is unknown; floods will happen again. Not acting now will foster the same pattern of continued land development without comprehensive knowledge of what the risks are. Acting now will allow for organized and thought-out development of land that considers the wishes of all stakeholders and is the best investment model for the citizens of Minnesota and our tax dollars. This is our moment to keep building on the synergies already established to change the course of history, to protect this area, its natural, cultural and economic resources from continued devastation of flooding events.
Scope of Project
Project deliverables are as follows:
-Civic Engagement: In every phase of this project Civic Engagement is essential to establishing the
necessary framework and support to revitalize the region.
-Feasibility Engineering: Feasibility engineering will produce five-to-ten high level project scenarios. Each scenario will provide an order of magnitude estimate for a) initial investment, b) Return on Investment, and c) amount of public impact.
o Return on Investment determination: An economic loss determination is necessary to determine the Return on Investment that will be needed for evaluating Feasibility Engineering results. Direct costs: cleanup cost, property buy-outs, insurance claims, etc. are fairly easy to achieve, but still need to be collected and evaluated at the watershed level. Indirect Costs: lost tax and liquidity, state, county, city, increased insurance premiums, individual loss, private company, loss of future investments, etc. This is a huge number that could have otherwise remained liquid for other needs.
o It is equally important to establish a legislative liaison to jointly set a final Course of Action (COA), as to not squander efforts that ultimately do not align with possible funding constraints. It is the scope of this phase to limit COA to fewer than 3 with a strong desire to identify and implement a single COA.
-Detailed Engineering: Final engineering and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). An EIS is a detailed report describing the potential effects of a project on the environment. This will require coordination with multiple regulating agencies and other stakeholders.
-Construction Plans: Project plans to be developed.
Floods are unpredictable, but we know they will happen againundefinedand we want to shift our resources from reactive to proactive. There is no doublt that a proactive approach, that prevents flooding events before they happen, is the best investment model for the citizens of the Zumbro Watershed. Capitalizing on the momentum gained in the 2010 flood response could reap benefits not just in the Zumbro River Watershed, but also serve as a blueprint statewide for all citizens of the state of Minnesota. It is time for a fresh approach, a proactive approach, a cross-community, cross-sector approach.
Southeastern Minnesota flooding is costing local communities, the state and federal government millions of dollars. These floods have wrought devastation upon the lives of the people in these rural communities who are our neighbors and a vital part of the fabric of Minnesota. At the same time, the flood has been a reset event, and has provided the opportunity to go forward with a new start. The Zumbro Watershed can’t be looked upon as an unmanaged problem, but as a tremendous resource to many communities within its boundaries. When successful, this approach can be used as a model across the state to execute similar efforts. On behalf of our citizens, families, and businesses, we urge your support for this important work.