Flood of cash can cease literal flooding in our neighborhoods

We have followed (the) excellent coverage of the Journal on the Infrastructural Legislation of Congress and the legislative coincidences of NM that might contribute to it. The city’s decade plan for investment improvement projects should also be included in this conversation.

One need that usually remains in the shadows is flooding. (The Sunday Journal of September 5) mentioned the flooding in Rio Rancho.

Well, we’ve had 7 floods here in the heart of Albuquerque Council District. They have invaded homes and flooded sizable lots in the Mile Hi and Pueblo Alto neighborhoods.

Mile Hi, where we live, suffered two severe and somewhat frightening floods in less than a month, one on May 31st and a second on July 20th.

Now every time we hear thunder we worry that an even worse event might rush through our streets. We have entered an age of climate change, which in our case is being driven by monsoon humidity.

The leaders of the McDuffie-Twin Parks neighborhood, which includes Twin Parks City Park, spent nearly four years fending off a joint attempt by the City / AMAFCA to build a giant rainwater catchment pit in their magnificent Twin Parks City Park. This is an example of a misdirected flood control strategy targeting more than a dozen green spaces in the NE Heights, including Twin Parks, Alvarado Park, Jerry Cline Park, Mark Twain Elementary, and other spaces needed for urban relief in the older structure The Japanese call it “natural bathing”.

This plan has already created far too much conflict and delay. A new beginning is needed, more neighborhood-centered and more focused on the residents. Some of these new infrastructure funds should be used to work out this new plan.

Concerned neighbors have formed an ad hoc group called the Stormwater Drainage Management Team.

We have contacted our city councilor and her staff with generally positive results and expect a joint study with the involvement of Pueblo Alto in the near future.

We also visited (with) several of the candidates for D-7 and showed them in detail the flood route and a main source of rainwater runoff for Mile Hi: the Fair Plaza Shopping Center in Lomas and San Pedro. On-site measures to reduce rainwater, which should be of benefit to all parties, have been proposed, but a recent meeting between city officials and Fair Plaza owners failed to reach even a preliminary agreement. A new approach is needed, including a serious assessment of the capacity of the major sewers below San Pedro and San Mateo.

Our map also shows how our rainwater flows under the San Mateo sound / art wall, rushing north over the four lanes and caused accidents by aquaplaning on May 31st.

Finally, floods in the NE heights and in the entire urban area raise important questions of social justice. Residents who have suffered the most from flooding are more likely to be found in lower-income areas.

The new federal, state and city infrastructure legislative packages offer a great opportunity to finally tame the large number of flood waters in the city. Let’s get it right this time.

Extra reduction cash heading to Midstate counties devastated by flooding | Information

Waverly, TN (WSMV) – More help goes to flood-ravaged Midstate Counties.

It comes in the form of grants to nonprofit and religious organizations from the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

News4 spoke to Casey Johnsen when she was picking up supplies at Waverly First Baptist Church on Friday.

She and her husband moved to the area just before the Wisconsin flood disaster. You live with friends now.

“I remember the night before we were in Waverly looking at properties for sale,” said Johnsen.

Less than 24 hours later, Waverly was under the water.

“You just see water everywhere. It was just quick,” said Johnsen.

Emergency grants worth $ 200,000 will go to 11 area agencies. The grants come from the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to help those affected by the deadly floods.

The money will help with food, financial aid, temporary housing, and rubble removal when needed.

“Well, I appreciate all the help we can get if we have a long-term plan,” said Pastor Scott Brown of Waverly First Baptist.

Brown said he was grateful that the church will receive a $ 10,000 grant.

“It’s really just about meeting people where they are and helping them get where they want to be, but our goal is to put 100% of that money back into the community, back in The people. We don’t want to keep a dime of it, “said Brown.

For three weeks, Pastor Brown and Church volunteers spent long days serving their ward.

“Sometimes it feels like everything we do is just a drop in the ocean, but the truth is, if there are enough drops, it can fill this bucket,” Brown said.

The aid money is part of the foundation’s first funding round.

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Charleston’s invoice to repair flooding is rising. Discovering the cash to pay for it’s a puzzle. | Rising Waters

The cost to fix flooding in Charleston has bloomed to some $3 billion in total, city officials say — a price tag for solutions from cleaning out plugged drainage systems to new, deep tunnels and a wall that could deflect hurricane waves from the downtown peninsula.

In 2017, The Post and Courier asked city officials how much it might cost to fix flooding in the face of a climate that is supercharging flooding rains and pushing sea levels higher. At the time, the estimate was $2 billion, including several hefty projects that were already under way. 

But now that number is rising, in large part because of an Army Corps of Engineers proposal to wall off the downtown area from the water. If the project, still in early planning stages, reaches the finish line, the city would have to pay a portion that’s estimated at around $500 million.

In the meantime, a slew of other work in other neighborhoods in the city is ongoing, chewing up the city’s fund for drainage work and sending staff on time-consuming efforts to secure federal grant funds. In all, the city plans to spend almost $58 million, including grant money, on stormwater and drainage efforts in 2021, CFO Amy Wharton said. 

These projects, Director of Stormwater Management Matt Fountain said, mostly aren’t aimed at preparing for the 2- to 3-feet of sea level rise the city expects in the next 50 years. They’re an effort to fix the severe flooding problems already existing, which have resulted, in part, from years of poor development decisions about where and how to build in the region’s low topography. 

WestAshley.jpg (copy) (copy)

A car drives through water past the West Ashley Library on Windermere Boulevard on Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Charleston. File/Gavin McIntyre/Staff

In an interview with the paper, Fountain ticked off a list of 20 major water management projects somewhere in the pipeline from design to construction, including:

  • Engineered wetlands on the former sites of flooded homes in far-flung West Ashley.
  • Outfall cleaning around the city, in neighborhoods like the historic Byrnes Downs.
  • Plans to divert water around the Barberry Woods neighborhood on Johns Island.
  • New pipes and eventually pumps to evacuate water from the flood-prone King and Huger streets intersection. 

As far as work that will fend off the water of the future, “I think we just haven’t quite gotten there yet. We’re still so buried into the things that we need to fix that are currently causing problems,” Fountain said.

The one exception, he said, is the proposed seawall, which has proved controversial since its inception. The city hasn’t officially voted to move forward with it and hasn’t put together a funding plan for its share of the project. But they will have to certify to the Corps by the end of the year that the city will pay the 35 percent match of the total project cost. There will be time after that point to come up with those funding sources, said Mark Wilbert, the city’s outgoing chief of resilience, because the Corps itself will spend several months internally reviewing the wall plan.

A $1.4 billion Army Corps plan to protect Charleston from hurricane surge changes

“We’re looking under every rock,” Mayor John Tecklenburg said. “You just kind of ask for everything, and at the end of the day, see where you land.”

Ultimately, the many needs of Charleston put it in competition for state funds with communities around South Carolina, and for federal funds with many cities nationally. There are several communities in the Southeast that are also working with the Army Corps on climate adaptation plans, and who may be in contention when Congress decides who deserves funding. 

“This is something the city of Charleston and all coastal communities will be dealing with for eternity,” Wilbert said. “We will be adapting forever.”

Finding funds

Right now, Charleston cobbles together its money for flooding improvements from a variety of sources — a fee on water and sewer bills that covers smaller projects and the budget for the stormwater department, a small portion of property taxes for a dedicated drainage fund, special tax districts and a bevy of various grants. 

The tax districts in particular, usually abbreviated as TIFs, have come to a particular importance in recent years. These TIFs rely on rising property values. When they are put in place, they freeze the amount of money sent to school district, county and city coffers. If the lots inside become more valuable over time, that additional tax money is set aside in a special fund that the city can borrow against or use to pay directly for certain projects.

Take the example of a particularly successful tax district along King Street, which Wharton said has raised $123.6 million since it was established in 1998. It has helped to pay for significant portions of the deep-tunnel drainage system the city is building under the Septima P. Clark Parkway, also known as the Crosstown. When that complex project, known as Spring-Fishburne, encountered a $43 million cost overrun a few years ago, the city was able to rely on this well-performing district to cover some of the difference. 

These arrangements don’t last forever. The King Street district is set to expire in 2023, removing that as a source of future funds. They also require buy-in from schools who are essentially foregoing revenue. Charleston County School District declined entirely to participate in a much newer tax district around flood-prone Church Creek, Wharton said. That fund is devoted entirely to water management projects.

In other cases, there’s disagreement on whether to use these proceeds for drainage at all, as has happened in a special district that covers Charleston’s Eastside neighborhood. Some wanted to use the money for the upcoming Lowline park; Councilman Keith Waring prefers the money help pay for drainage fixes in the historically Black and rapidly gentrifying Eastside neighborhood.

East side project flooding.jpg (copy)

America Street is covered by water after several inches of rain fell on Wednesday, May 20, 2020, in Charleston. The street is one of several on Charleston’s East Side that persistently floods during intense storms. File/Grace Beahm Alford/Staff

In a meeting at the beginning of June, Waring bemoaned the fact that for years the city didn’t dedicate much money for drainage at all, and now the Eastside has needs that will probably range between $15 million and $20 million. A city consultant is studying the area now to decide exactly what projects should be done there, Fountain said.

“We’ve got a lot of good ideas sitting on the shelf,” Waring said, “but the elephant in the room is funding.”

City Council hasn’t made a final decision on how to use the money from the district that covers the Eastside. But Wharton said there may be other options if they do opt to pay for the park, like finding grants to pay for it. 

Grant funding has gone a long way in helping the city design new approaches for the Church Creek basin and Johns Island. Those federal dollars come with a cost, though. It could take months of staff time to fully prepare an application, with no guarantee they’ll be awarded.

A smaller approach

Fountain said his strategy of late has been to aim for smaller-in-scope projects that offer relief now, so residents don’t feel ignored while larger, multi-year efforts are under way.

In one case, that means working on several smaller efforts first in the drainage basin that was next projected for deep drainage tunnels: Calhoun West, which covers the southwest corner of the Charleston peninsula, one of the lowest and most flood-prone areas of the city.

The area is a wealthy one, with historic homes worth millions, and picturesque Colonial Lake, an engineered waterbody the city drains before storms to ensure it does not spill over. Charleston has already done conceptual engineering on a tunnel system there, but isn’t moving forward on the design or permits yet because of many other, smaller efforts.

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One, a single shaft tunneling down from Ehrhardt Street, will replicate a portion of the system and connect it to existing tunnels to the north. The city is also working on cleaning out historic brick-arch drains and potentially raising the sidewalk along low-lying Lockwood Drive to block high tides, Fountain said.

“We need to get those things to their next step … to kick out more project work behind them,” Fountain said. “Each thing we can do that moves water out of the basin more efficiently reduces the size and scope of the tunnel work.”

medical district.jpg (copy)

Floodwater covers a sidewalk along Ashley Avenue in the Medical District on July 8, 2021, following the passage of Tropical Storm Elsa. This section of downtown Charleston, home to three major medical institutions, had flooded for decades. File/Lauren Petracca/Staff

The Corps’ wall proposal would also affect where and how the city would build Calhoun West’s deep tunnels and a pump to drain them. 

Just the Ehrhardt Street shaft alone costs north of $10 million, and the money wasn’t easy to find. Officials for the three large medical providers in the hospital district and Tecklenburg lobbied state government officials for years before funding was included in a round of Housing and Urban Development money the state started to parcel out earlier in 2021

In the past, the city relied on large-scale projects like Spring-Fishburne, the more expansive tunnel system north of the area where Calhoun West would be installed. But Spring-Fishburne encountered significant delays in its construction timeline, in part because it was difficult to secure funding in the first place. Fountain said he doesn’t want to leave people waiting for years without smaller relief.

He also urged that the deep-tunnel design will have to fit with other projects in the basin that are being designed or built now. 

Councilman Mike Seekings, who represents that part of the city, said the Calhoun West tunnel project is still an essential one. With spring thunderstorms this year dumping water that piled 2- or 3-feet deep in that zone, “It’s an unsustainable quality of life and public safety model we have to remedy,” he said. 

The problem, Seekings said, is that the city needs to more clearly define what projects to do, and in what order. Fountain said the city does have a rubric developed by consultant AECOM to prioritize projects based on economic benefits, environmental impacts, social needs and future maintenance costs, but the stormwater department hasn’t finished scoring all the proposed projects yet.

Drainage Tunnel (copy)

The city is gradually replacing its 19th century brick arches with a modern network of deep drainage tunnels, such as this one. Ralfael Reveles drives a train through the Spring-Fishburne drainage tunnels on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, in Charleston. File/ Andrew J. Whitaker/Staff

Local share

The seawall project, if the city decides to pursue it, would be covered 35 percent by Charleston and 65 percent by a federal appropriation for the Corps. The most recent estimate pegs the total cost at some $1.4 billion.

That projection is likely to change, and might have to if the project is ever to get federal funding. Right now, its ratio of benefits to costs, as counted by the Corps, is 2.2. In other words, every dollar invested has a $2.20 value in avoided damage. Federal reviewers usually favor projects with a ratio of 2.5 or higher for funding, a Corps spokeswoman said.

If it does move forward, the project is a pay-as-you-go affair: money would only be due as the design or construction happens. Project leaders have already said the wall construction would happen in four phases.

“That (local) price tag is not something that’s due next year or in five years. It could, in fact, be due over 20 years,” said Dale Morris, a longtime flooding consultant to the city who is becoming its next chief resilience officer in the fall. 

City officials have said the state has a role to play in funding this because of Charleston’s economic impact on the rest of the state. But if the much smaller $10 million bill for the Medical District’s Ehrhardt shaft is any indication, it could be hard to make that argument. An earlier attempt to include that line item in the state’s 2020 budget failed.

Dana Beach, a founder of the Coastal Conservation League who has since retired from that environmental advocacy group, worried whether the city’s political leadership would really be able to convince lawmakers to put up the money. 

It’s not as if legislators are unwilling to pay for large construction projects in the region; the State Ports Authority, Beach argued, secured a vote in favor of borrowing $550 million for an expanded rail yard and barges in the Charleston Harbor

But in Charleston, “We just have this hope that the Corps of Engineers will do something, will put the money in, and we’ll somehow come up with the 35 percent match,” Beach said. “Hope is not a strategy.”

SC's new resilience office tackles question of how to avoid damages from strengthening storms

Tecklenburg said he’s already talking to state and federal officials about how to fund the city’s share.

“You’re not going to find one funding source that’s going to pay for a big project,” he said. At the state level, “I think we can be successful getting a piece at a time, but maybe not get the whole enchilada like the Ports Authority has.”

The first pieces of a potential strategy could come in the next few months. An advisory group reviewing the wall plan is also focusing on possible funding ideas, Wilbert said, as is the city itself. More special tax districts or fees could be part of the picture, he said. The state has also set aside almost $50 million for flood projects, distributed by a new Office of Resilience, but communities around the state will compete for that low-cost loan fund.

Morris was optimistic. He pointed to the federal American Rescue Plan funds that are coming to South Carolina, $2.5 billion in all, which can be used for infrastructure projects. Additional funding through HUD, he said, will also help cities and towns pay for projects to fix flooding before disasters instead of after — a longtime blind spot in federal funding. 

“It’s more positive right now for federal resources to support communities than I’ve seen for a long time,” Morris said.

That may be limited help in the case of the wall project; if Congress funds the Corps’ share, the city generally can’t use federal funds to pay for its own portion without special permission, a Corps spokeswoman said. 

But first, the city will have to decide this fall if it actually wants to move forward with a wall at all. 

Editorial: Broaden approach to Charleston's peninsula wall project to get it right

Images present disastrous flooding in western Europe

ENSIVAL, BELGIUM – JULY 16: Citizens evacuate their flood damaged homes on July 16, 2021 in Ensival, Belgium.

Olivier Matthys | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Heavy rains and floods have wreaked havoc in parts of Western Europe, and rescue workers are currently trying to prevent further damage.

The death toll rose to over 150 on Saturday, according to media reports, with that number expected to rise as the tides recede.

Parts of Switzerland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands are affected, but the worst floods are reported to be in Germany and Belgium.

The Rhineland-Palatinate district of Ahrweiler is one of the most severely affected areas, along with North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous federal state.

The World Meteorological Organization announced on Friday that in some parts of Western Europe, rain fell for up to two months in just two days.

Partially sunken caravans and mobile homes in flood at the De Hatenboer campsite in Roermond, Netherlands.

This aerial photo shows caravans and motorhomes partially submerged in flood on July 15, 2021 at the De Hatenboer campsite in Roermond

ROB ENGELAAR | AFP | Getty Images

The aerial photo shows an area in the Erftstadt district of Blessem that was completely destroyed by the floods.

TOPSHOT – The aerial photo shows an area in the Blessem district of Erftstadt on July 16, 2021, which was completely destroyed by the flooding.


In the Rue de Tilff in Angleur, a district of Liege, Belgium, people use a boat to get people out of their homes.

ANGLEUR, LIEGE, BELGIUM – JULY 16: People use a boat to get people out of the house after a heavy storm on July 16, 2021 on “Rue de Tilff” in Angleur, a district of Liege, Belgium.

Thierry Monasse | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Flood damaged houses in Ensival, Belgium.

ENSIVAL, BELGIUM – JULY 16: Citizens clean their flooded houses on July 16, 2021 in Ensival, Belgium.

Olivier Matthys | Getty Images News | Getty Images

A broken bridge can be seen after a major flood in the Ahrlweiler district in the German mountain Eifel in the village of Sinzig, Germany.

SINZIG, GERMANY – JULY 16: A broken bridge can be seen in the village of Sinzig, Germany on July 16, 2021 after a major flood in the Ahrlweiler district in the mountain Eifel of Germany.

Adam Berry | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Destroyed houses and cars pictured in Schuld, Germany.

SCHULD, GERMANY – JULY 16: Destroyed houses and cars, pictured on July 16, 2021 in Schuld, Germany.

Stringer | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Streets and houses in Bad Neuenahr – Ahrweiler, Germany, damaged by the flooding of the Ahr.

BAD NEUENAHR, GERMANY – JULY 16: Streets and apartment buildings damaged by the flooding of the Ahr can be seen in Bad Neuenahr – Ahrweiler, Germany on July 16, 2021.

Sascha Schuermann | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Resident stands in front of her property in Bad Neuenahr – Ahrweiler, Germany, which was destroyed by the flood.

BAD NEUENAHR, GERMANY – JULY 16: Resident Elke Wissmann stands in front of her property in Bad Neuenahr – Ahrweiler, Germany, which was destroyed by the floods on July 16, 2021.

Sascha Schuermann | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Bucks County Companies, Breweries Be a part of Forces To Elevate Cash For Flooding Victims – CBS Philly

BRISTOL TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) – Local businesses in Bucks County are stepping up efforts to raise funds for this week’s flood victims.

The road to a major flood can be long, with paperwork and lots of waiting. But local companies say they are now working to help.

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“I’ve worked in the area for over 20 years and have never seen so much rain,” said one man.

As with most flash floods, the effects of the rain on Monday can be seen long after the water has retreated.

“It was crazy, absolutely crazy,” said one man.

In Bucks County, residents affected by the flood had to leave their belongings behind, mostly in piles in front of their homes.

While the cleanup is in progress, a group of local businesses are trying to put their money where their heart is.

“It’s pretty much a community break-up – all the local commercial breweries, we also have a distillery, 1675. And everyone just more or less wanted to join in and do what they can for the community,” said Mike Watahovich.

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Watahovich is a taproom manager at Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company in Bristol Township. He organized the fundraising campaign in which part of the sales proceeds are donated to the flood victims.

“We just wanted to do something to give something back to the community that has supported us so much over the past year,” he said.

Watahovich roped Phillip Harris, owner of Second Sin Brewing. You donate $ 1 for every pint sold.

“It’s difficult and I can’t see myself going through it, but we’re going to help in any way we can,” said Harris.

For customers who like cold brews, this fundraiser is a win-win situation.

“This is such a small brewery and most of the breweries that are involved in it are small so I think it’s great that it brings them business and supports the community too,” said customer Erica Lawrence.

The fundraiser lasts all weekend. The proceeds will go to the United Way of Bucks County’s rebuilding efforts.

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Jasmine Payoute reports from CBS3.

New Frontier Outfitters elevating cash for hundreds of Kentuckians impacted by flooding

MOREHEAD, Ky. (WKYT) – More and more companies are joining the Appalachia Rises efforts to help those affected by the floods of the week. Thousands across Kentucky have been left homeless, and now you can help.

Joshua Ravenscraft and friends have explored all of Kentucky.

“We are all looking for the grindstone, the faith and the sand. We are all hardworking people and we will keep it up, ”said Ravenscraft, COO of New Frontier Outfitters.

Hundreds of thousands of people across Kentucky lost everything in the floods.

“They are hardworking, resilient people. If it had happened to us, we would expect people to come to help us. This is just one Eastern Kentuckian shaking hands with another Eastern Kentuckian, ”Ravenscraft said.

Ravenscraft and his brother Jared started the outdoor apparel business to highlight the good throughout the Appalachian region. Days after the flood, they found a way to help.

“Long-sleeved shirts, t-shirts and hats are just one way to help the victims affected by the floods,” Ravenscraft said.

As part of Appalachia Rises, which was launched by AppHarvest, 100% of the proceeds from the merch will be used for flood relief. Sporty something that for so many people in the region is less a catchphrase than a way of life.

“Appalachia Rises is a hope for the future. When that happens, roll up your sleeves and help your neighbor get through, ”Ravenscraft said.

Mother Nature has been relentless for the past few weeks, but she is aiming for a community that proves time and time again that she will not give up.

Appalachia Rises has brought together more than half a dozen organizations. Together they ran a large-scale fundraiser anchored by a telethon on Monday at 7 p.m. that airs on CBS subsidiaries, here on WKYT and WYMT in Hazard.

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