Little Rock, AR -- In June of 2000 an idea was born while investigating a possible floodway violation in an area just outside the City of Little Rock, in Pulaski County. A group of floodplain professionals from the area including: Jason Dohnam, NFIP Coordinator for the State of Arkansas, Sherman Smith, Director for Public Works in Pulaski County and Jim Narey, Director of Planning for Pulaski County, came up with an innovative plan to incorporate field studies into training for Floodplain Managers and Administrators. With the understanding that classroom study and theory have their traditional role in educating Floodplain Managers, this group's belief was that nothing can take the place of on-site, hands on work within the floodway.
With these men at the helm, a seminar was held in the Fall of 2000 in the Pulaski County Planning office. Floodplain Administrators, Floodplain Managers, engineers, surveyors, representatives from the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, FEMA, and the states of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Oklahoma all attended the two day seminar.
The first day of the seminar consisted of transporting the participants to various work sites around Pulaski County. Representatives from the Pulaski County Road and Bridge Department, Planning and Development, and Public Works were on hand to instruct on the use of surveying and leveling equipment in order to locate and stake the floodplain/floodway areas. The next day, the class reconciled their experiences in the field and had group discussions and lectures about surveying.
This seminar afforded a unique opportunity to all participants, many of whom were working for the first time outside the office in addressing floodplain/floodway issues. As Linda Delamare, Natural Hazards Program Specialist, FEMA Region VI, summed up, "This was a first-time ever type of training for floodplain administrators/managers in Region VI. Pulaski County has demonstrated a willingness to exceed the expectations of FEMA's minimum requirements. This class was very successful."