17-037 Corps sending technical assistance to support flood-fight efforts in Gem County, Idaho

Published March 23, 2017
GEM COUNTY, Idaho – An U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hydraulic engineer from the Walla Walla District’s Boise Office will be deployed tomorrow to provide technical assistance to Gem County emergency managers as they respond to flooding conditions there, according to Corps emergency management officials at the District headquarters in Walla Walla, Washington.

Brandon Hobbs, who was born in Idaho Falls and worked for a Boise engineering firm before joining the Corps in 2010, will meet with county emergency management staff concerning a damaged levee on the Payette River near the City of Emmett, which poses potential flood risk to roads and homes.

Hobbs will perform site assessments, review available technical information, coordinate reach-back support with the District headquarters departments, identify at-risk areas and develop options for the county to mitigate potential flood risks.

Residents of flood-prone areas in and near Gem County are encouraged to keep informed of changing river, stream and weather conditions on the National Weather Service - Boise Office website at http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/boi/ – which offers flow data, weather forecasts and flood alerts – and by tuning in to local radio and television news stations.

The Corps’ Walla Walla District continues to coordinate with state and local emergency management agencies.

Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security http://www.bhs.idaho.gov encourages Idaho residents to be prepared to respond to localized flooding. Individuals are encouraged to contact local emergency management agencies to ensure they understand how to receive updates and information specific to their location. Most county emergency management departments in Idaho have flood-preparedness information on their websites. Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security has an alert system that, based on zip code, will send alerts to whatever device residents choose – sign up at https://mystateusa.com/default.aspx?region=670.

Corps water management officials continue coordinating with other federal and non-federal dam managers throughout the greater-Columbia River basin to make adjustments in river system operations that will best accommodate the increased run-off inflows. Reservoirs are being drafted ahead of anticipated heavy spring runoff. The Corps works closely with other agencies and local government entities to notify the public as early as possible when significant changes to flows are necessary.
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The Corps is authorized to work with states, counties and other public entities to provide necessary resources and information. The Corps does not have authority to provide disaster assistance directly to individuals. The organization will continue to carefully watch the evolving situation and respond, when requested, with whatever assistance is authorized, appropriate and available.

The first responsibility for protecting homes and property from flood damage rests with the individual. Local governments and agencies, such as flood control districts, may share in this responsibility, and together form a community's first line of defense in preventing flood damages.

Occasionally, however, local resources are not able to control or contain a flood emergency situation. The Corps’ flood disaster assistance program is intended to supplement and assist local governments, institutions and special-purpose districts when more help is needed.

The Walla Walla District is prepared to assist states and municipalities with flood-management support, if requested, said Jeff Stidham, Walla Walla District disaster response manager. That assistance could include technical expertise, supplies and materials, equipment or contracts for emergency flood-fighting work.

“We're watching rivers and streams throughout the Walla Walla District and staying in touch with local emergency officials so, if requested to, we can plan, prepare or act,” said Stidham. “Our top priority is the public’s safety, so we’re encouraging folks in low-lying parts of flood-prone areas stay tuned to information and advisories provided by the National Weather Service or their local emergency-service agencies and be ready to take action according to local flood response plans.”

State, tribal, and county agencies needing disaster assistance from the Corps should contact the Walla Walla District Emergency Management Office at 509-527-7146, or 509-380-4538.

For more information about Emergency Management Assistance, check out the District’s Web site at http://www.nww.usace.army.mil/Missions/Flood-Assistance/.


Public Affairs Office

Release no. 17-037