1997 New Year’s Floods—20th Anniversary

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The start of the new year marked the 20th anniversary of the devastating 1997 New Year’s floods of western Nevada, which caused over 450 million dollars in damage and closed downtown businesses in Reno for weeks. This event was caused by a phenomena known as the “Pineapple Express” (more generally known as an “atmospheric river”) in which several warm storms tapped into moisture plumes sourced near the Hawaiian Islands. These storms produced heavy rainfall in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, saturating the soil and melting existing snow pack resulting in flows around 18,000 cfs in the Truckee River. Footage from that event is shared below from the KTVN Channel 2 News Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nevada-Bureau-of-Mines-and-Geology/106397989390636
https://www.facebook.com/KTVN2/videos/10150832012069966/?pnref=story

You can also see the 1997 flood extents for the Carson River, Reno area, and Walker River in NBMG’s MyHazards-Nevada interactive web map:

https://gisweb.unr.edu/myhazards/

Click the “Floods and Drought” group (wave icon) then checkmark on the “Historical Floods – NBMG” layer to turn on the 1997 flood layers. Several sublayers available for each flood area, which can be viewed by clicking the gray triangle next to the layer names to expand the layers.

Given that western Nevada has a flood watch in effect for this weekend, it’s worth noting that there are other useful layers available in MyHazards-Nevada, such as live feeds for weather watches and advisories, radar, and current flooding, in addition to layers for other geologic hazards including a live feed for recent earthquakes.

For those interested in learning more about the 1997 New Year’s floods, NBMG Special Publication 23 is a detailed report on that event:
http://pubs.nbmg.unr.edu/1997-New-Year-s-floods-w-NV-p/sp023.htm
Links to other flood- and weather-related publications are available on this landing page.

AEG Monthly Dinner Meeting—January 19: “Truckee River Flood Project” talk by Jay Aldean

 

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WHAT: ASSOCIATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND ENGINEERING GEOLOGISTS GREAT BASIN SECTION
MEETING ANNOUNCEMENT
WHEN: Thursday January 19, 2017
SPEAKER: Jay Aldean, Executive Director, Truckee River Flood Management Authority
TOPIC: “Truckee River Flood Project”
LOCATION: BEST WESTERN AIRPORT PLAZA COURT RESTAURANT
1981 TERMINAL WAY
RENO, NEVADA 89502

SOCIAL HOUR: 5:30 PM
DINNER: 6:30 PM
PRESENTATION: 7:00PM

RSVP NO LATER THAN 5PM, TUESDAY JANUARY 17TH to 775-303-8271 or ATHIBEDEAU@NEWFIELDS.COM

COST: Members: $25.00; non-members: $29.00; Student dinners sponsored by Merrily Graham and Gary Luce

ABSTRACT:
THE FLOOD PROJECT PLAN: The Flood Project Plan represents many years of planning and stakeholder coordination. The Plan is designed to provide a variety of public safety, economic, recreational and environmental benefits to the Truckee Meadows region. Its primary goal is to create a more resilient community by reducing flood damages and deaths resulting from a 1997¬type flood event (117-year event). Additionally, the Plan incorporates certain recreational and ecosystem restoration features within the footprint of the flood protection infrastructure.

THE LIVING RIVER PLAN: The Flood Project Plan is based on the “Living River Plan,” originally conceived by the Flood Project Community Coalition. Over a period of six years, our agency organized hundreds of meetings with community stakeholders in order to develop and build consensus for a regional flood management plan. The Living River Plan emphasized the community’s vision of incorporating environmentally-friendly elements into the flood protection infrastructure (“green” infrastructure) in order to reconnect the river to its floodplain, restore habitat for native species, and enhance recreational opportunities along the river. The Living River Plan was eventually presented to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) as the Locally Preferred Plan (LPP) alternative for flood risk management.

DEVELOPING A COST-EFFECTIVE PLAN: Truckee River Flood Management Authority (TRFMA) is committed to building a cost-effective flood project to benefit our community. In response to local concerns regarding the overall cost and scope of the Living River Plan (which was estimated to cost $1.6 billion), TRFMA worked with its consultants and numerous stakeholders to revise the plan, significantly reducing the cost while still providing a 100-year level of flood protection for the Truckee Meadows (thereby maintaining compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program). Through a series of meetings—including an in-depth Value Engineering exercise, the overall cost was reduced to just $446 million. This represents roughly 72% in cost savings to the communities of Reno, Sparks and Washoe County. The current Flood Project Plan retains some of the elements from the original Living River Plan and incorporates results from our updated hydraulic models.

BIOGRAPHY: Jay Aldean, PE, formerly of HDR Engineering, joined the Flood Project as Deputy Director in October 2008. Jay was appointed Executive Director in May 2012. Jay’s career spans numerous and varied assignments in the area water management. In his former position with HDR he led the Water Resources Business Class for Nevada to oversee employees, deliverables on projects dealing with flood control and drainage systems treating both water conveyance, and quality. Prior experience included a mixture of both public and private assignments. He managed the Wastewater Treatment Facilities for the City of San Antonio, Texas and initiated the Stormwater Department for the San Antonio Water System. For Carson City, Nevada he served as the Public Works Department Director. While in private practice he served as the Chief Program Engineer for Coyote Program under the Santa Clara Valley Water District in San Jose, CA. This program consisted of a number of major flood protection projects sponsored by the District and Federal and State Agencies.