Port Accomplishes Levee Recertification
In April 2013, after a complex process, the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued their finding that the Washougal levee complies with accreditation requirements and is, therefore, CERTIFIED. This means that the levee is certified to meet FEMA's standards for flood protection, standards which were put into place following the failure of several levees from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. "This has been a long, drawn out process," remarked Executive Director David Ripp. "Our perseverance has paid off." (See FEMA Levee Recertification Acceptance.)
As part of their Map Modernization Program, FEMA initiated a countywide Flood Insurance Study and Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map review, and the Port of Camas-Washougal was directed to recertify the Washougal Flood Reduction Damage System (levee) as depicted on the effective Rate Map.
The purpose: To to allow the existing levees to be recertified so that FEMA will continue accepting the levee as providing protection from the base flood of area within the City of Washougal and Port of Camas-Washougal.
The Port simultaneously approached U.S. Fish & Wildlife to act as a federal sponsor, while also soliciting proposals from qualified engineering firms, in the event a federal sponsor was unavailable to complete this project within the timeline set by FEMA.
(The Port was required to pay for the project whether having federal sponsorship or using a private firm.)
After learning that federal sponsorship was not an option in order to meet FEMA's deadline, in July 2011 the Port awarded the contract to engineering firm Cornforth Consultants, Inc., to complete a core sampling on the 5-mile stretch of the levee along with completion of a freeboard, embankment protection, embankment and foundation stability analysis, and review of closures on the levee.
Other phases included Interior Drainage Analysis Review, and Analysis of Potential Settlement and Loss of Freeboard.
Between 2007 and 2011, the Port assembled and submitted to FEMA years' worth of levee inspections, Corps of Engineers reports, and volumes of historical documentation. The Port also submitted certified as-built plans and developed and submitted a revised Operations and Maintenance Manual.
Finally, in April 2013, a Levee Certification Acceptance was received by the Port from FEMA. (See above.)