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USACE California Districts help earn Silver Jackets award

Published Sept. 5, 2014
Program leaders for California’s new Silver Jackets team Terri Wegener (left), with the California Department of Water Resources, and Judy Soutiere (right), with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District, pose with DWR Deputy Director of Integrated Water Management Gary Bardini and Sacramento District Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Braden LeMaster after a ceremony celebrating the new team in Sacramento, California, Nov. 4, 2013. The Silver Jackets program is designed to improve coordination, collaboration and communication among disaster-response agencies at all levels of government before a disaster strikes to hasten recovery. California is the 40th state to establish a Silver Jackets team.

Program leaders for California’s new Silver Jackets team Terri Wegener (left), with the California Department of Water Resources, and Judy Soutiere (right), with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District, pose with DWR Deputy Director of Integrated Water Management Gary Bardini and Sacramento District Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Braden LeMaster after a ceremony celebrating the new team in Sacramento, California, Nov. 4, 2013. The Silver Jackets program is designed to improve coordination, collaboration and communication among disaster-response agencies at all levels of government before a disaster strikes to hasten recovery. California is the 40th state to establish a Silver Jackets team.

LOS ANGELES -- Kim Gavigan and Lawrence Walsh, two members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District, are part of a team which won the National Silver Jackets Team of the Year award.

The California team received the award at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Senior Leader Conference in August “for overcoming challenges of initiating a Silver Jackets team in the most populous state in the U.S.” The nationwide program is “designed to improve coordination, collaboration and communication among disaster-response agencies at all levels of government before a disaster strikes to hasten recovery.”

The team consists of employees from USACE’s LA and Sacramento Districts, the California Department of Water Resources and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The team worked with federal and state agencies to build a relationship to develop communication tools and determine the flood risk for the state.

State teams from around the country voted on the recipient of the award. Throughout 2013, the California Team made strides in reaching out to more than 1,300 local agencies across the state with some degree of authority for flood risk management.

Among the California team’s accomplishments during its first year are conducting two interagency Watershed University courses, participating in monthly interagency mitigation meetings, and holding two formal Silver Jackets team meetings. The team members have reached out to the 58 counties and major cities across California to invite them to be part of the team. Members say the team is still growing and they are looking forward to another successful year.