19-041 Corps sends flood-fight specialists to support Idaho’s Jefferson, Madison counties

Published April 26, 2019

Two U.S. Army Corps of Engineers emergency management flood-fight specialists from the Walla Walla District will deploy Sunday, April 28, to provide technical assistance to Idaho’s Madison and Jefferson counties’ emergency managers as they prepare for seasonal flows to peak in upper-Snake River areas.

Joy Hartl, a civil engineer, and Kevan Schneidmiller, a hydraulic engineer, both from the District headquarters in Walla Walla, Washington, will assist local levee sponsors with assessing levee performance and identifying areas that may be of concern.

Some rivers in the basin are already at, or forecasted to soon reach, bankfull or flood-stage conditions, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service River Forecast Center which can be found online at https://www.nwrfc.noaa.gov/rfc/.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Walla Walla District activated its Emergency Operations Center at Level-3, on April 22, to more closely monitor seasonal flooding conditions throughout the Basin.

Corps officials communicate with local officials to obtain on-site observations from communities located along rivers throughout the Walla Walla District area of operations. This area covers the Snake River Basin, plus a portion of the middle Columbia River and tributaries.

Walla Walla District disaster-response experts are prepared to assist states and municipalities with flood-management support. That assistance might include technical expertise, supplies and materials, equipment or contracts for emergency flood-fighting work.

The Corps coordinates closely with other federal and non-federal water managers to make adjustments in reservoir system operations that will best accommodate the increased seasonal flows.

Disasters and emergency situations -- like flooding -- can occur anywhere, often with little or no prior warning. Corps officials encourage everyone to keep local emergency management contact information handy, keep an eye on evolving weather and streamflow conditions, and be familiar with emergency action plans for your specific location. Be prepared and stay informed so you’ll be ready to react if an emergency occurs near you.

BE PREPARED ~ Become familiar with local emergency management plans for you area. For example, if your home becomes flooded, to which emergency shelter should you take your family? What route should you take to safely get there? Will the shelter allow pets? What should you have ready to bring with you?  Links to emergency management office contact information is provided, by state, below:

WASHINGTON ~ Contact information for county emergency management offices in Washington State can be found on the state’s Emergency Management Division website https://www.mil.wa.gov/emergency-management-division/.

IDAHO ~ County emergency coordinators in Idaho State are listed on the Idaho Office of Emergency Management and Community Resilience website https://ioem.idaho.gov/about/contact/county-tribal-emergency-managers-contacts/

OREGON ~ The Oregon State Office of Emergency Management provides a list of county emergency managers on its website https://www.oregon.gov/oem/Documents/locals_list.pdf.

WYOMING ~ Wyoming’s Office of Homeland Security provides contact information for county emergency coordinators at http://wyohomelandsecurity.state.wy.us/counties.aspx

NEVADA ~  Nevada’s Department of Public Safety website offers a list of county and major city emergency management offices http://dem.nv.gov/Resources/Agency_Contact_Lists/.

UTAH ~ The Utah Emergency Management Division website provides an interactive map linking to county office webpages at https://dem.utah.gov/


STAY INFORMED ~ Weather forecast information and extreme weather warnings can be found on the National Weather Service (NWS) website https://www.weather.gov/.  NWS Forecast Stations serving areas within the Corps’ Walla Walla District area of operations include:

•         NWS Spokane - serves northeastern and far-eastern Washington (includes Garfield and Asotin counties) and northern Idaho

•         NWS Pendleton - serves south-central Washington (as far east as Columbia County) and northeastern Oregon

•         NWS Riverton - serves western and central Wyoming

•         NWS Boise - serves southwestern Idaho and southeastern Oregon

•         NWS Pocatello - serves southeastern Idaho

•         NWS Missoula - serves central Idaho and northwestern Montana 

•         NWS Elko - serves most of northern Nevada

•         NWS Salt Lake City - serves Utah

The Corps works 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 first responsibility for protecting life, 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 minimize the effects of flooding. The Corps’ flood assistance program is intended to supplement state and local governments and special-purpose districts when more help is needed.

State and local agencies needing disaster assistance from the Corps should contact the Walla Walla District Emergency Management Office at 509-527-7146.

Individuals and business owners are encouraged to contact local emergency management agencies to ensure they understand how to prepare, respond and recover from a flood.

For more information about the Corps’ Emergency Management Assistance programs, check out the District’s website at https://www.nww.usace.army.mil/Missions/Flood-Assistance/


Public Affairs Office

Release no. 19-041