After receiving notice of requirements held by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for levee accreditation in order to continue being shown on floodplain maps as providing protection from the 100-year flood, the Village of Waterloo, Nebraska, asked JEO to conduct a detailed study. Through this extensive study, it was found that Waterloo’s 3.4 mile-long levee did not meet requirements. Because of the levee’s inadequate freeboard, the required update was to increase the height of the levee above the flood height, within specific time frames set by FEMA.
The project design team included both JEO as the lead firm, as well as utilizing Terracon’s geotechnical services, and was independently peer reviewed by SEH Inc. of St. Paul, Minnesota and United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). As their village engineer, JEO took extra care to make sure Waterloo was given all necessary information to aid the public in the process of upgrading their levee. JEO also assisted with very detailed environmental reviews regarding endangered species and impacts of the wetlands.
This project went through an intensive permit process and coordination effort, and was the first levee in the country to go through the entire process of getting USACE approval from its Head Quarters in Washington DC for major modification of the levee, which was triggered by FEMA Provisional Accredited Levees (PAL) process. JEO was also involved in this evaluation and permit process, using NEPA and risk analysis to support major 408 requirements.
Through JEO’s efforts, combined with extensive coordination efforts by FEMA; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE); Union Pacific Railroad; Nebraska Game and Parks Commission; the Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR); Papio-Missouri River NRD; and the Village of Waterloo, paying mandatory flood insurance and construction/development restriction will not be an issue for Waterloo residents. This project was jointly funded by Village of Waterloo and Papio-Missouri River NRD.