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Posted 6/14/2017

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By Dave Palmer


PHOENIX -- Chief Engineer and General Manager of the Flood Control District of Maricopa County Bill Wiley welcomed staff and flood directors from 12 of 15 counties to the inaugural Arizona Flood Control District Directors meeting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District June 8. 

This meeting is similar to the one held annually with seven Southern California agencies to discuss common interest issues. 

"This inaugural event was critical to establishing communication and building relationships with the entire state of Arizona's flood control districts," said Col. Kirk Gibbs, District commander.  "Many of the districts are very remote and have not worked with the Corps in the past, so this session was great for providing an overview of our capabilities, processes, and accompanying challenges."  

Always a key topic of concern, flood districts had money on their minds. 

"Arizona as a state did very well in the fiscal year 2017 work plan," said David Van Dorpe, deputy district engineer for programs and project management.  "One thing we learned is that several Arizona counties do not have the fiscal resources to address all their water resource needs.  However, we identified programs that the Corps can partner with the flood control districts and begin to address their issues."  

Van Dorpe and Kim Vitek, chief, programs branch, presented a Civil Works overview touching on budgeting, the Flood Risk Management program and ways the Corps can help local flood control districts. 

"The Rehabilitation and Inspection Program is part of our Public Law 84-99 [Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies Act] assistance program which allows the Corps to supplement local efforts to repair flood control projects after they get damaged during a flood," said Van Dorpe. "Other possible options are the Corps' Flood Plain Management Services and the Planning Assistance to States programs. These programs allow the Corps to assist state, tribal and local entities with flood plain mapping and other technical services. The PAS program is cost-shared 50/50 and FPMS is 100 percent federal."  

On the success of the meeting, "Every FCD left with a greater understanding of what the Corps is about and how they can partner with us in Flood Risk Management, permitting, and disaster response," added Gibbs.

And, according to Gibbs, talks are already underway with Maricopa County to meet again next May in conjunction with another one-day conference for all FCDs to attend.  

"We now have a foundation of knowledge about the Corps' set with them," said Gibbs. "I expect we will be able to expand on this throughout the coming year and into the event next year."