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Sarpy County, NE - Western Sarpy Levee

Appeal Brief Appeal Letter Appeal Analysis

Appeal Brief

ApplicantNebraska Emergency Management Agency
Appeal Type2nd
Date Signed1997-10-28T00:00:00
1st Appeal
• Issue
o The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District submitted an HMGP application through the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for HMGP funding of the Western Sarpy Levee in Sarpy County, Nebraska, a major flood control project. The project was not approved under HMGP, and a 1st level appeal was denied by Region VII.
• Reason for Denial
o Information in support of the HMGP application and the 1st appeal was not adequate for a determination of HMGP eligibility by Region VII. Issues included the height of the levee, the need for an effective Operations and Maintenance (O&M) plan with emphasis on conditions associated with ice jams, cost effectiveness with consideration of ice jam conditions, and potential levee-induced flood hazards for specific locations adjacent to the Platte River.
• Reference(s)
o 44 CFR 206.434 - HMGP Eligibility;   44 CFR 206.440 - Appeals
2nd Appeal
• Issue
o The Applicant, NEMA, supported the 2nd appeal to overturn the 1st appeal denial, regarding the HMGP ineligibility of the proposed project to construct the Western Sarpy Levee; additional information was needed to enable a determination in favor of the proposed project and HMGP eligibility.
• FEMA Findings
o The 2nd appeal decision overturned the 1st appeal denial, approving HMGP funding in support of the Western Sarpy Levee.
o The rationale for 2nd appeal approval was based on information developed through engineering analysis, previously unavailable to Region VII, and conditions for approval. The approval was conditioned on limiting the levee height to the 50-year flood elevation; provision and approval of an O&M plan addressing ice jam conditions and compliance with Executive Order 11988, and strict floodplain management behind the levee with adjacent property owner coordination; and a finding of No Significant Impact pending review of an Environmental Assessment prepared by FEMA.
o Reference(s):  44 CFR 206.434 - HMGP Eligibility;   44 CFR 206.440 - Appeals

Appeal Letter

October 28, 1997

Brigadier General Francis Laden
Nebraska Army National Guard
Acting Assistant Director, Nebraska Emergency Management Agency
1300 Military Road
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508
 
Subject: Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Project: Western Sarpy Levee, Sarpy County, Nebraska
 
Dear Brigadier General Laden:
 
I am writing to you with regard to the appeal submitted by your office for the proposed Hazard Mitigation Grant Program project for the Western Sarpy levee in Sarpy County, Nebraska. We have performed a detailed engineering, economic, and program eligibility review based on your appeal. We appreciate the cooperation from your staff, the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission, and the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District. This cooperation has greatly aided FEMA in making a thorough evaluation of this project In our review process, we uncovered information which was not available to our regional office at the time of their review.

Based on review and engineering analysis, FEMA will approve the proposed mitigation project based on the applicant's original proposed total construction cost of$2,314,242 (the 75% Federal Share would be $1,735,682). The approval is based on the following provisions:
 
1. The levee will be constructed to the 50-year flood elevation, (excluding the effects of ice jams, see #2 below), determined in the hydraulic analyses prepared by our contractor, Woodward-Clyde Federal Services. FEMA has determined that constructing the levee to this height will not result in a floodway violation under the National Flood Insurance Program. It should be noted that any increase in levee height above this 50-year level would result in a flood way violation.
 
2. Final design plans based on the above mentioned levee height, along with supporting engineering design information (e.g., geotechnical data, levee cross-sections, etc.) should be submitted to FEMA for approval. Additionally, an Operation and Maintenance (O&M) plan for the levee should also be submitted. It is especially important that the O&M plan address access and maintenance of the 200-foot corridor along the levee and provisions to be implemented for combating the impacts of ice jams along the Platte River. The benefit/cost analysis for this project was based on non-ice jam conditions. Historically, ice jams have been significant factors in flood events along this reach of the Platte River. Balancing the competing interests of ice jam induced flooding and floodway rise, compliance with Executive Order 11988, and maintaining strict floodplain management behind the levee will be difficult. Consequently, the applicant should have prescribed actions that will be implemented to minimize these impacts and maintain the integrity and performance of the proposed levee. It is our expectation that the applicant, the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District, will successfully navigate these interests and satisfy all interested parties before construction begins.
 
3. The proposed levee does cause induced flood hazards for property on the riverward side of the levee in Sarpy County and for property on the Saunders County side of the Platte River. These induced flood hazards were quantified in the hydraulic analyses performed by our contractor. The applicant should notify impacted property owners and stakeholders (e.g., Camp Ashland, Saunders County, Thomas Lakes, and Beacon View) to inform them of the induced hazards and to address any concerns that they have based on the proposed project. It is imperative that this local flood plain management coordination be accomplished prior to construction of the project. FEMA will be happy to provide the applicant with information about the induced damages.
 
4. Any requests for additional funds above the originally estimated construction cost of $2,314,242 (75% Federal Share $1,735,682) must be submitted to FEMA and the State of Nebraska with justification. Any additional funds would require separate review and approval from FEMA.
 
5. An Environmental Assessment (EA) must be prepared for this project by FEMA to meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The EA must result in a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) prior to FEMA's release of funding for this project. I do not envision this to be a problem and I assure you that FEMA will complete this environmental evaluation in a timely manner to ensure that the construction of the project is not unnecessarily delayed.
 
Again, I wish to express my appreciation for your cooperation and patience in evaluating this project. If you have any questions or concerns with this determination, please contact either me at (202) 646-3672, or Mr. Craig Wingo, Deputy Associate Director for Mitigation, at (202) 646-3026.

Sincerely,
 
Michael J. Armstrong
Associate Director for Mitigation

 

Appeal Analysis

Constructing the levee to the 50-year flood elevation would not result in a floodway violation under the National Flood Insurance Program. Any increase in levee height above this 50-year level would result in a flood way violation.
 
An Operations and Maintenance Plan, as a required provision, would need to address access and maintenance of the 200-foot corridor along the levee and provisions to be implemented for combating the impacts of ice jams along the Platte River. Balancing the competing interests of ice jam induced flooding and floodway rise, compliance with Executive Order 11988, and maintaining strict floodplain management behind the levee will be difficult. Consequently, the applicant should have prescribed actions that will be implemented to minimize these impacts and maintain the integrity and performance of the proposed levee.
 
It is imperative that local flood plain management coordination be accomplished prior to construction of the project, for the purpose of addressing any concerns of property owners on the Saunders County side of the Platte River, regarding project-induced flood hazards.
 
An Environmental Assessment (EA) must be prepared for this project by FEMA to meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The EA must result in a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) prior to FEMA's release of funding for this project.

 

Last updated August 19, 2014