Member Resources

3/15/2019:  PRESS RELEASE FROM TETON COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT 

Subject:  Warm-Up Raises Flooding Concerns

Jackson, WY – With temperatures forecasted to be in the upper 40’s and lower 50’s by the middle of next week, the potential for flooding will rise, especially with the lingering low-elevation snowpack from a record-setting February in Jackson. The National Weather Service in Riverton has issued a Hydrologic Outlook stating that snowmelt below the 8,000’ elevation is expected to increase steadily Tuesday 3/19 through Thursday 3/21 of next week.

 

“Although this isn’t a Flood Watch or Flood Warning, it is something that property owners should take heed of,” says Rich Ochs, Coordinator for Teton County Emergency Management. “This will likely be the first of several rounds of warm-up that will accelerate snowmelt and may cause flooding.”

 

Teton County Emergency Management recommends that residents and businesses consider the following as we head into our first warm-up of the spring:

 

• Have a plan: Look at your property for low lying areas and piles of snow that could melt and cause problems and mitigate those issues now. Talk with your neighbors and develop a neighborhood plan for responding to flooding such as sandbagging.

• Clear culverts, ditches, and storm drains now: Common culprits in overland sheet flooding are blocked culverts, overflowing ditches, and plugged storm drains. Clear ice jams from culverts, remove debris from ditches, and make sure storm drains are free of ice and snow. 

• Know where to get info: Sign up for Emergency Management’s Nixle notification service (text TETON_WY to 888777) and frequently check current weather and flood information at www.weather.gov/riw. Learn more about floods by visiting www.ready.gov/floods and follow Teton County Emergency Management on Facebook for flood preparedness tips at www.facebook.com/teton.wy.ema

• Get financially prepared: Flooding is the most common and destructive natural disaster in the United States. Sometimes there is absolutely nothing you can do in the face of rising flood waters. Talk with your insurance agent now about your coverage and ask about flood insurance. Teton County and the Town of Jackson both participate in the National Flood Insurance Program, allowing residents and businesses to purchase flood insurance in our area. Even if you aren’t required to buy flood insurance, you can still get a policy, and usually at a much-reduced premium. Policies typically take 30 days to go into effect, so now is the time to talk to your agent. Learn more about flood insurance by visiting www.floodsmart.gov.

 

Sandbags will be made available for residents for flood-fighting purposes by Monday 3/18/19 at the Town of Jackson Public Works Yard at 450 W Snow King Ave. and at the Teton County Road & Levee Yard at 3190 Adams Canyon Dr. Residents are responsible for filling, transporting, building dikes, and disposing of sandbags. “Sandbagging is hard work. If you don’t know what you’re doing, we recommend consulting with an excavation contractor or landscape company for advice,” says Ochs. Visit https://www.nww.usace.army.mil/Missions/Flood-Assistance/ to access sandbagging and other flood fight information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

 

On the tail of a historic February, this first warm-up could cause some areas to see flooding that haven’t before. Those that live near active or abandoned irrigation ditches, ephemeral streams, or other low-lying areas are advised to remain vigilant through next week and any subsequent warm-ups. With the ground still frozen, overland sheet flooding that isn’t near any waterway is also a possibility.

 

“My best advice to people in regard to this year’s runoff is to not let your guard down,” says Ochs.

 

###

2/25/2019:  "Freezing & Flooding on Flat Creek" - Blog from Phoebe Coburn, Teton Conservation District

 https://www.tetonconservation.org/blog/2019/1/25/freezing-and-flooding-on-flat-creek

6/25/2018: UPDATE FROM TETON COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

 

Subject: 2018 Upper Snake River Operations Update

 

Purpose: The purpose of this Operations Update is to provide information regarding Reclamation's operations as the season progresses. The operations identified are based on the best available data at the time and are subject to change as new information becomes available. For additional information and resources, please visit our website at https://www.usbr.gov/pn/hydromet/uppersnake/.

 

Summary

 

Jackson Lake filled late last night and Palisades Reservoir is forecasted to fill Tuesday, June 26th. This morning Jackson Lake Dam began passing inflow. When Palisades Reservoir fills tomorrow Palisades Dam will begin passing all upstream basin inflows, which could be approximately 15,500 cfs. Milner spill could last into next week, which will be dependent upon irrigation demand and the natural inflow recession.

 

Changes in reservoir discharge today and the planned discharge changes include:

  • Jackson Lake Dam discharge was increased this morning to go from 2,600 cfs to 3,500 cfs.

  • Palisades Dam discharge will be increased tonight at 11 pm to go from 13,500 cfs to 15,000 cfs. Another increase in discharge is anticipated sometime tomorrow to pass inflow.

6/15/2018:  UPDATE FROM TETON COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

From: Rich Ochs <[email protected]

Sent: Friday, June 15, 2018 11:24 AM

Subject: Teton Flood Stakeholders - NOAA Water Supply Outlook

 

Hello Teton Flood Stakeholders,

 

Find attached the NOAA Wyoming Water Supply Outlook for June 2018. Our area is seeing average to just above average amounts.

 

Also attached is a Situation Report from NWS Riverton (www.weather.gov/riw) about the rain coming this weekend. Although central/south Teton County is only looking at about .5" to 1", northern Teton County will see more, as will the mountains. Already swollen creeks will be higher, temperatures will drop, and mud/rock slides could be possible. Just something to be aware of going into the weekend.

 

Rich Ochs, CEM, MEP, WEM
Coordinator, Teton County Emergency Management
Chairman, Teton Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)
President, Wyoming All-Hazards Association (WAHA)
Wyoming Type 3 All-Hazards Planning Section Chief (PSC3-AH)
PO Box 4458
Jackson, WY  83001
o: (307) 732-8594
c: (307) 413-5040
f: (307) 732-5799
[email protected]
www.tetonwyo.org/em

6/1/2018:  UPDATE FROM TETON COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

From: Rich Ochs <[email protected]

Sent: Friday, June 1, 2018 11:19 AM

Subject: Teton Flood Stakeholder Update 20180601

 

Hello Teton Flood Stakeholders,

 

We have hit 9.02 feet at the Kelly gauge on the Gros Ventre River today. Per NOAA Hydrologist Jim Fahey, we could see a slight rise (to the ~9.2' range) through next week as the weather warms up. This is still below the record of 9.9' at that gauge which was set last year. So far there are no reports of issues in the Kelly area, but we have all seen what the Gros Ventre has done once again to the Cattleman's Bridge, so vigilance is warranted.

 

The US Bureau of Reclamation has just relayed to the US Army Corps of Engineers that they will be increasing outflow from Palisades by 1,000cfs around 20:00 today 6/1 for a total expected release of 21,000cfs to be held until June 10th. Jackson Lake Dam releases will be reduced by 500cfs today 6/1, then reduced an additional 500cfs on Monday and another 500cfs on Tuesday. These changes will occur around 13:00 each day. This will bring us to the 16,000cfs to 18,000cfs range at the gauge at Swinging Bridge, which is a watch-out flow range for erosion to the levees. Teton County Road and Levee will maintain 2 per day levee watches as long as flows are above 15,000cfs at the Swinging Bridge gauge.

 

We're still seeing high water on Flat Creek with some minor nuisance flooding of the Pathways as well. If you have any reports of significant flooding, please relay them to me. Thanks.

 

Rich Ochs, CEM, MEP, WEM
Coordinator, Teton County Emergency Management
Chairman, Teton Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)
President, Wyoming All-Hazards Association (WAHA)
Wyoming Type 3 All-Hazards Planning Section Chief (PSC3-AH)
PO Box 4458
Jackson, WY  83001
o: (307) 732-8594
c: (307) 413-5040
f: (307) 732-5799
[email protected]
www.tetonwyo.org/em

5/24/2018:  UPDATE FROM TETON COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

From: Rich Ochs <[email protected]

Sent: Friday, May 25, 2018 10:47 AM

Subject: Teton Flood Stakeholders 5/25/18 Update

 

Hello Teton Flood Stakeholders, 

 

Water is moving, and we are starting to see some issues pop up around Teton County. Those that are part of flood response teams should keep their cell phones close this Memorial Day weekend. Situational awareness that we have to share at this time:

 

  • Hydrologic Outlook from NWS Riverton still shows that creeks and streams will remain at high levels through late next week due to increased snow melt at the 9,000 to 10,000 foot elevation through Saturday 5/26 followed by widespread mountain rain showers on Sunday 5/27. Tributary streams in our area may see the highest flows of the season by early next week. Mountain temperatures will remain above normal through the remainder of next week, causing creeks and streams to remain at high levels through late next week.

 

  • US Bureau of Reclamation as of this morning states that we are still tracking on our flood control curves for Jackson Lake (this is a good thing). There may be concern with the rain this weekend if it is more than what is anticipated in the NWS forecasts. USBR is going to increase flows from Jackson Lake Dam this morning 5/25 from 6,500 cfs to 7,000 cfs. Downstream entities that are facing flood conditions on the Snake should contact Teton County Emergency Management immediately if this is going to cause you problems.

 

  • Grand Teton National Park has activated their High Water Team due to the Hydrologic Outlook from the National Weather Service. This is a forward-leaning action and there are no flooding emergencies in the Park at this time.

 

  • Teton County Road & Levee at this time is actively flood fighting on the Evans Levee (river right, just upstream from the S Hwy 89 Bridge of the Snake River near Evans Construction). Levee watchers detected a small hole in the levee they are working on. There is no public safety concern at this time.

 

  • Emergency Management is asking Town of Jackson Public Works and Teton County Road and Levee to have sandbags out for the public through this weekend. We'll post sandbag info on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/teton.wy.ema/) and other flood preparedness items. If your agency could share them from our page we would appreciate it.

 

  • There are reports of water flowing over Buffalo Valley Road near Box Creek. At this time the flow is heavy enough to move small branches and debris, but isn't an immediate hazard. If flows increase, however, this area may need to be checked. Teton County Road & Levee has been advised.

 

  • GTNP Rangers reported water on the pathway just south of the Gros Ventre Bridge. It appears a barricade has been placed on the south end of the water to warn travelers.

 

  • Although not in Teton County, Teton Interagency Dispatch Center reports that Bridger-Teton National Forest and Sublette County SAR personnel are responding to a report of a landslide in the Little Greys River drainage in Lincoln County. No injuries have been reported and equipment is en route to help remove debris for those people trapped upstream of the landslide.

 

For those with access to WebEOC, we ask that you put any reports of flooding issues and damage for this weekend into next week into the "Recovery - Damage Assessment" event. We'll track all of the issues in a single event, and if we start to get a bunch of reports TCEM will start transcribing them into the Damage Assessment board in WebEOC. If you have updates on changes to Jackson Lake Dam outflows, please put them under the "Public Works - Dam Issue" event that has already been started. Thanks everyone for your time.

 

Rich Ochs, CEM, MEP, WEM
Coordinator, Teton County Emergency Management
Chairman, Teton Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)
President, Wyoming All-Hazards Association (WAHA)
Wyoming Type 3 All-Hazards Planning Section Chief (PSC3-AH)
PO Box 4458
Jackson, WY  83001
o: (307) 732-8594
c: (307) 413-5040
f: (307) 732-5799

5/23/2018:  UPDATE FROM TETON COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

Hello Teton Flood Stakeholders,

 

Some situational awareness to share about conditions in Teton County:

  • NOAA Hydrologic Outlook is calling for highest snowmelt from 9,000' to 10,000' Monday 5/28 into Tuesday 5/29, with increased flow starting on Friday 5/25. Although the area focused on is the Wind River and Shoshone River, we are starting to see first hand accounts of significant rises in tributaries such as Pacific Creek and the Gros Ventre.

 

  • USBR is increasing flows out of Jackson Lake Dam this afternoon to 6,200 cfs from 5,700 cfs this morning. As of 14:45 it appears they have leveled out at 6,200 cfs.

 

  • GTNP advises noticeable increases at the Snake River at Moose. They were at 12,500 cfs at 13:45. Gauge height was 13.57' at 13:45. Action Stage is 14'. There are no reports of flooding at Moose as of 15:15 today.

 

  • As of 5/22, Teton County Road & Levee has increased levee watches to 2 per day since flow at Swinging Bridge (Snake below Flat Creek) has exceeded 15,000 cfs. These levee watches do include the public-maintained levees on the Gros Ventre. There are no reports of issues on the public maintained levees at this time, but flows are in the range where we start to see damaging effects on the levee system.

 

 

  • The Gros Ventre at Zenith gauge is forecast to crest into Thursday 5/24 and again around Monday 5/28. This information is provisional, however, due to sedimentation in the river and alterations to the location from the Cattleman's Bridge construction.

 

  • Teton County Public Works is watch the new rip rap and flood mitigation measures installed on the south bank of the pathway bridge over the Gros Ventre.

 

  • For those that are interested, this is the situational awareness weather/flood gauge viewer we are using in the EOC with our current view saved: https://go.usa.gov/xQyca

At this point there are no significant actions to be taken, just increased vigilance going into the Memorial Day weekend. If anyone has information to share with the group, please email me. We will post some flood-related material to our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/teton.wy.ema/, so if you could share this info on your agency pages to amplify the message that would be great. We'll use the hashtag #jhfloodseason. Thanks for your time.

 

 

 

Rich Ochs, CEM, MEP, WEM

Coordinator, Teton County Emergency Management

Chairman, Teton Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)

President, Wyoming All-Hazards Association (WAHA)

Wyoming Type 3 All-Hazards Planning Section Chief (PSC3-AH)

PO Box 4458

Jackson, WY  83001

o: (307) 732-8594

c: (307) 413-5040

f: (307) 732-5799

[email protected]

www.tetonwyo.org/em

5/11/2018: UPDATE FROM TETON COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ON POSSIBLE FLOODING. 

As predicted, we're starting to see some flooding impacts with increasing snowmelt. Although things will cool down this weekend decelerating snowmelt, the added precipitation could still cause a net increase in stream flows that are already high. See the NWS SitRep attached for an overview. Here is the situational awareness I have to share:

 

  • For those with access, we are tracking this flood event in WebEOC and discussing in NWSChat "wytetonchat" room

  • The Gros Ventre River at Kelly gauge hit Minor Flood Stage (8') at 15:15 on 5/10. It is at 8.12' as of 09:00 on 5/11/18.

  • The Snake River Gauge at Swinging Bridge (below Flat Creek) remains above our levee watch trigger of 10,000cfs at around 14,000cfs as of 09:15 on 5/11/18. As of this time, the Snake is not forecast to go above our 2/day levee watch trigger of 15,000cfs. Levee watches will continue at 1/day unless we go above 15,000cfs.

  • GTNP reported at 18:00 on 5/10/18 that the Gros Ventre had overtopped its southern bank near the N Highway 89 Pathway and flooded the pathway.

  • GTNP checked the area of Kelly on 5/11/18 and did not see any areas of immediate concern. Per rangers, rip rap downstream from Kelly bridge was still visible, which is usually completely inundated before any problems start occurring. See attachments for photos.

  • TCSO was requested to conduct patrol checks of the areas behind the Airport for any flooding in the Moulton Loop area or of the Gros Ventre downstream from N Highway 89.

  • GTNP was requested to conduct patrol checks of the Gros Ventre upstream from N Highway 89 through Grand Teton NP and also of Pacific Creek and Buffalo Fork.

  • TC Public Works is going to check the situation on the bike path at N Highway 89 and the Gros Ventre River and see if signage or a temporary closure is in order due to the flooding.

  • TC Public Works is going to make sure that the Gros Ventre levee is part of the once per day levee watch.

  • Cattleman's Bridge construction crews will notify TC Public Works Director if they see any flooding issues of concern.

  • TOJ Public Works will have sandbags and sand available for the public through the weekend at their yard on W Snow King across from the Fairgrounds.

  • TC Road & Levee will have sandbags and sand available for the public through the weekend at their yard at Adams Canyon, past the Animal Shelter near the juvenile detention facility.

  • TCEM will post NWS SitRep and info on sandbags on Facebook and continue to monitor situation and share info as needed.

  • Teton EOC is activated to Stage 1 - Monitoring to collect and share situational awareness on flooding in the County. I will be EOC manager and can be contacted via my cell 307-413-5040 through the weekend if you have flooding information to share.

 

Lastly, for those monitoring the situation, a tool that we use in Emergency Management is the NWS's Enhanced Data Display (EDD). It allows us to layer mosaic radar, weather stations, stream gauges, advisory/watch/warning polygons, and more in one display. If you follow this link you can see the same view we use and modify it with the panel on the left (click the double arrows) to suit your needs: https://go.usa.gov/xQngw.

 

If anyone sees any flooding issues of concern beyond normal nuisance flooding, please don't hesitate to contact me on my cell at 307-413-5040 over the weekend. If you can get photos and text them to me, all the better. If you can't reach me, please call TCSO Dispatch at 307-733-2331 and they'll document the info and work on finding me. Thanks everyone for helping us stay prepared!

 

Rich Ochs, CEM, MEP, WEM

5/8/2018: SITUATION REPORT highlights from Teton County Emergency Management who is requesting all Teton County residents to remain vigilant this weekend due to warmer weather and chance of rain - -

  • Pacific Creek is in Action Stage, expecting to crest just below minor flood stage;

  • Gros Ventre River is forecast to hit just below Action Stage;

  • Snake River at Swinging Bridge just hit 10,500 cfs this morning (yesterday was at 10,000 cfs);

  • Expectation for smaller creeks and tributaries in the valley are bankfull conditions with minor low-lying flooding 

(Click on this PDF for details)​

4/19/2018: CURRENT Peak Snowmelt Flow Forecast for 2018 flood season.  "We need to remain vigilent", states Rich Ochs, Teton County Emergency Management. (Click on this PDF for details)

4/17/2018: LATEST current and forecasted state of Teton County's flood season:  We are now at 136% SWE of median now in the Snake River basin compared to 129% last week and 152% last year. (click on these PDFS for details )

4/10/2018: REMINDER from Teton County Emergency Management - - We aren't out of the woods yet for flood season.  

See this PDF (NRCS Weekly Snow Report for 4/10/2018): 

4/9/2018:  The attached PDFS contain - 1) The latest USBR Upper Snake River Operations update for MAY FLOOD CONTROL TARGETS FOR JACKSON LAKE DAM; 2) NOAA Wyoming Water Supply Outlook.

4/9/2018:  Click on the PDF below for the NWS Riverton Situation Report for 4/9 - 4/15.  There will be a cold front moving in Tuesday through Thursday with accumulating snow in the mountains.  Swollen creeks/streams will have minor flood potential through this time period.

4/9/2018:  Reports were received by Teton County Emergency Management from Grand Teton National Park this weekend of flooding on Antelope Flats Road near Craighead Hill on Friday night and some minor flooding of structures in the Craighead area.  Flooding receded by Saturday morning; but the saturated roadbed has officials keeping Antelope Flats Road winter closure in effect a bit longer until it can dry out.

4/9/2018:  Jim Fahey, NOAA Wyoming Hydrologist, informed Teton County Emergency Management that they have added the "Gros Ventre River at Kelly" gauge to the AHPS website.  Click this link to access:

https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=riw&gage=gvkw4.  The purpose is to help monitor upstream flows especially since the downstream gauge near Zenith has been moved due to the Cattleman's Bridge construction.

4/6/2018:  USBR Upper Snake Water Operations Update - Teton County Emergency Management (Rich Ochs) notes potential additional discharges from Jackson Lake Dam this next week for flood control purposes.  Jackson Lake Dam is currently at 1,500 cfs outflow with about 726 cfs inflow.  Current storage is at 77%.  Click on this PDF for further details. 

4/6/2018: Rich Ochs, Teton County Emergency Management, reports Jackson, Wyoming is on a Flood Watch for this Saturday & Sunday (4/7-8/2018).  He states we are in the "SET" stage in the "Ready, Set, Go" public outreach program (see graphic below or click on the PDF).

April 2018 Wyoming Spring Snowmelt Flood Outlook

The following attachments are provided by Teton County Emergency Management

March 2018 Wyoming Spring Snowmelt Flood Outlook

The following attachments are provided by Teton County Emergency Management

May 5, 2017.  Teton County Emergency Management held a flood meeting to prepare for a potential flood season.  Please visit the link below to download the slide presentation, Teton/Jackson Flood Pre-Plan, levee map, and the "Ready Set Go" brochure.

https://tetoncountywy-my.sharepoint.com/personal/rochs_tetonwyo_org/_layouts/15/guestaccess.aspx?folderid=1579cb8515f9e403c9d3ff0be27da3117&authkey=AbyNKwLNEGgfO6Njfe8sY8g&expiration=2017-08-02T22%3a29%3a14.000Z

 

 Flat Creek Water Improvement District

Emergency Wintertime and Spring Runoff Action Plan

Effective Date: March 11, 2019

 

Background:

Although spring run-off flooding has occurred along Flat Creek, it is uncommon and of secondary concern of the Flat Creek Water Improvement District (WID). However, winter flooding of Flat Creek is a natural and common occurrence. It happens during extended periods of sub-zero weather. Though the process is complex and not completely understood, what is known is this: water molecules get flung into the super-cold air through wave action (or through other atmospheric phenomena), freeze and fall back into the stream where they may congeal into visible globs known as frazil ice. Water currents then carry the frazil ice to the stream’s bed where it freezes to the substrate forming anchor ice. This process can continue as long as open water is exposed to super-cold air.

 

As the anchor ice “grows” from the bottom up, it lifts the flowing water until it spills over the shelf ice forming from the banks. And as long as sub-zero temperatures continue and shelf ice doesn’t close off the flowing water, the stream can continue to rise until it eventually over spills the banks, threatening private property. In addition, extended periods of anchor ice buildup commonly lead to the formation of ice dams that greatly increase the flooding threat.

 

In the past, the Town of Jackson (“TOJ”) has addressed the issue in two ways: First, it installed 3 thaw wells that draw warm ground water up and pour it into the creek, thus warming the flowing water. Preliminary data suggests that this practice may help alleviate icing for 200 to 400 yards downstream before the new water chills to ambient stream temperature. Unless thaw wells can be placed at the properly spaced locations, their usefulness is very limited- plus they are costly to install and operate.

 

Second, when floodwaters threatened private structures, the TOJ’s response has been to order backhoes into the creek to break up and remove the ice. This too is expensive and has obvious detrimental impacts on the streambed and shoreline where the ice blocks are dumped. Though this eliminates the immediate threat of flood damage, it is not a long-term solution.

 

The WID was formed late in 2014 to address this winter flooding issue, and as a first order of business, it has taken over the responsibility of responding to the immediate threats of winter flooding. To this end, the WID is working in partnership with the TOJ and the Teton Conservation District.

 

The WID has developed the following strategies to (1) respond to the imminent threat of winter flooding and (2) identify and apply a long-term preventative solution(s) to the winter (and spring time) flooding of Flat Creek that poses an imminent threat to private structures:

 

WID Emergency Wintertime Action Plan

 

The WID Board Action Plan:

  • To receive signed copies of the “Right-of-Entry/Release/Hold Harmless Agreement” forms from WID members for year-around monitoring, data collection, conducting watershed improvements, and responding to flooding threats within the WID boundaries.

 

  • Monitor the creek flows and icing levels on a daily basis by a team of trained volunteers and when necessary, by paid staff. Key areas to monitor are:

       Berger Lane

       The Stellaria Lane Bridge

       Shelby Lane area

       Garaman Park Bridge

       Area South of the new post office

       Dogwood Drive cul-de-sac area

       Stacey Lane cul-de-sac area

       Willow Park Bridge south of Virginian Lane

 

  • Monitor weather predictions on a daily basis. If weather projections indicate a long period of sub-zero temperature it may be affective to turn the thaw wells on. Monitor the effects created from the thaw well water flows on a daily basis. Procedure for activating thaw wells: Contact appropriate TOJ personnel in accordance with WID/TOJ Memorandum of Understanding dated 12/21/15. TOJ responsible for obtaining any and all permits necessary to operate thaw wells.

 

  • Determine when and where to bring mechanical equipment into the WID portion of the creek to prevent flood damage to private structures. This decision shall be made by the WID Board of Directors in consultation with TOJ personnel. The determination shall consider at minimum the following criteria: current and predicted weather patterns, speed at which flood waters and ice buildup are occurring, and proximity of flood waters to private structures with an understanding of the time required to place equipment into the creek.

 

  • Many areas of the pathway near Garaman Park get flooded every year. This is due to the fact that they were constructed within the normal flood levels. Action should not be taken solely to clear pathway flooding.

 

  • Prior to placing any equipment in the creek a FEMA Flood Plain permit must be obtained by the TOJ.

 

  • Sand bags and sand should be made available to the public through the winter months. TOJ has these on hand and will have sand available at Town maintenance shop.

 

  • Be prepared to communicate with WID residents via e-mail blasts, PSA’s, and set up NixLe system with Teton County Emergency Management to advise the public of possible flooding/icing events.

 

Action Plan for TOJ’s Thaw Wells:

 

  • The use of the thaw wells must be coordinated with the TOJ as described in Exhibit A of the December 21st, 2015 Memorandum of UnderstandingBetween the Town of Jackson and the Flat Creek Water Improvement District and attached herein.

 

Sub-contracting of Excavators Action Plan:

 

  • Prepare a list of qualified excavation sub-contractors with all pertinent contact information: e.g. company name, list of excavators with sizes and quantities, to be ready on a monuments notice to enter Flat Creek within the WID boundaries anytime between mid-November and end of February.

 

  • The use of mechanical methods to removing ice should always start at the downstream areas of the creek and slowly progress upstream in order to realize a higher probability of reducing water levels within the creek system. In addition, clearing the lower sections of ice first, allows a better chance that ice escaping from upstream work will not clog down stream flows.

 

  • When multiple equipment is being used to remove ice from the creek, it is recommended that the upstream equipment be supported by a downstream equipment which can “catch and remove” ice which escaped from the upstream equipment. By using this method the chance of forming new ice jams downstream is greatly        . reduced.

 

FCWID Long-term Action Plan to Prevent Flood Damage to Private Structures

 

The long-term goal of the WID is to identify and apply procedures that will prevent damage to private structures due to winter (and spring) flooding of Flat Creek within the WID boundaries. Any actions taken will be evaluated in regards to their impacts upon the year-around aquatic and riparian habitat quality and function, and whenever appropriate and possible, will attempt to mitigate previous man-caused disturbances and improve upon the overall ecological function and value of the Flat Creek corridor.

 

Unfortunately, there is very little information identifying proven actions that might eliminate frazil ice-caused winter flooding on small streams such as Flat Creek. Consequently, the WID’s immediate goal is to engage qualified consultants to collect and analyze a range of winter atmospheric and stream data in an attempt to identify the environmental circumstances that lead to major flooding episodes. (The first year of data collection extended from mid-November, 2015 to mid-February, 2016.) Once we have a better understanding of the full range of circumstances leading to flooding, the work of identifying and applying solutions will begin.

 

It is likely that as the first season’s data is analyzed, information gaps will appear. It is also anticipated that with data analysis, patterns will begin to present themselves that may require the collection of additional or different data. This will likely require the WID to adjust efforts and continue collecting data for several more years.

 

Long-term actions that might be taken to prevent property damage from winter flooding include, but are not limited to: installation of additional thaw wells, placement of structures within the stream that alter the hydrology so as to eliminate the formation of frazil ice, construction of berms in select locations, and the closing of abandoned irrigation ditches (which, in flood situations can direct flood water out of the stream and onto private property). These and other as yet unidentified actions may be used exclusively, but more likely in combination depending on conditions and locations. The construction of berms in select locations and the closure of abandoned irrigation ditches may begin as soon as these locations are identified and appropriate permits obtained.

 

All flood prevention actions will be undertaken in coordination with the Teton Conservation District, The Town of Jackson, The Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and with consultation with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

 

EXHIBIT A

 

It should be noted that when using Town Thaw Wells, it is best to turn the wells on from the most southern area (Thaw Well #3) and monitor the effects on the entire stream before powering up upstream well #2.

 

The use of the Thaw wells should be coordinated with the Town. Each time a Thaw Well is turned on and off the Town must completed sampling of the water and report flow volumes and send the data to the DEQ. As such it is not a good practice to continually turn the wells on and off.

 

It should be noted that when using Thaw wells it is best to turn the wells on from the most southern area (thaw Well #3) monitor the effects on the entire stream before powering up the upstream wells #1, and #2.

 

       Thaw Well #1 is in Karns Meadow:

  • Well #1 can provided approximately 1,400 GPM. We have found that the thawing created from this will does not affect the icing backup at the Virginian Lane Bridge. So it’s effectiveness to clear icing is minimal. In addition the use of this well actually opens up a channel in the creek that allows additional floodwater to drain thru the system, which could create additional flooding. It is best to allow the ice to remain in Karns Meadow so icing and water can be stored in that area without effecting building and private property.

 

  • Should this well be turn on the Town would need to turn the potable water well off and reconfigure all of the water systems PRV (pressure reducing vaults) to supply drinking water to central area of Town.

 

  • The use of this thaw well is not recommended, if at all possible.

 

       Thaw Well #2 is located in the park south of Powderhorn Lane

  • Well #2 can produce approximately 900 GPM and depending on weather conditions could help reduce icing effects between Powderhorn Lane and Stellaria Lane. This well discharge just above the pathway bridge within the park, as such the use of this well can clear icing lodged on the upstream area of the creek.

 

       Thaw Well #3 is located next to the High School Road Bridge

  • Well #3 can produce approximately 400 GPM and when used creates minimal effects of the upstream icing of the creek. In addition this well has an oscillating ground water supply and often shorts out due to cavitation.

October 2105
WINTER FLOODING ON FLAT CREEK
Are You Ready?
Background:
 
Winter flooding of Flat Creek is a natural and common occurrence. It happens during extended periods of sub-zero weather. Water molecules get flung into the super-cold air through wave action, freeze and then fall back into the stream where currents carry the frozen particles to the stream’s bed where they freeze to the substrate. This cycle continues as long as open water is exposed to very cold air.
 
As the ice “grows” from the bottom up, it lifts the flowing water until it spills over the shelf ice forming from the banks. And as long as shelf ice doesn’t close off the flowing water, the stream will continue to rise and overflow until it eventually spills over the banks, threatening private property.
 
Historically, the Town of Jackson has addressed the issue in two ways: it installed 3 thaw wells that draw warm ground water up and pour it into the creek, thus warming the flowing water. Under the best of circumstances, this alleviates icing for 150 to 200+ yards before the new water chills to stream temperature. Unless thaw wells can be placed at the properly spaced locations, their usefulness is very limited- plus they are costly to operate.
 
The Town’s most conspicuous response has been to order backhoes into the creek to break up the ice. This too is expensive and it has obvious detrimental impacts on the streambed and shoreline where the ice blocks are dumped.
 
The Flat Creek Water Improvement District (WID) was formed to address this winter flooding. The WID has taken over the responsibility previously held by the Town, but is working in partnership with the Town and the Teton Conservation District.
 
The long-term goal of the WID is to identify and apply a long-term solution to the winter flooding problem on the portion of Flat Creek between the West Broadway bridge near Flat Creek Drive and High School Road. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a great deal of relevant science to draw from. Consequently, our immediate strategy is to engage knowledgeable consultants and collect data in an attempt to identify a viable solution, one that will protect private property from winter flooding while not degrading the environmental and social values of Flat Creek. The WID’s immediate goal consists of having made arrangements to order backhoes into the creek if flooding threatens private property this winter.
 
So what can a landowner do until the threat of flooding is abated?
 
Sand Bags:
 
Sand bags and sand will be available to the public at the Town’s Snow King Avenue shop. The bags are provided by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security, and are distributed through the Teton County Emergency Management office. Individuals wanting sand bags must fill and transport them themselves. Likewise, disposal of the sand and bags is the responsibility of the private users. They are free, very effective, but a bit of a hassle.
 
Temporary Flood Barriers:There are a variety of temporary flood barriers available from private manufactures and retailers. A google search of flood barriers will yield a variety of products available for purchase. Most but not all are simply tubes (of various sizes and fabrics) that when in place are filled with water. Once filled, they will freeze solid dictating that they remain in place until they thaw out- which could be months. Also, in order to remain in place as water and ice push against the barriers, and to keep water from running under them, they must be placed on bare ground, not on snow or ice. Although most barriers are very durable, they are vulnerable to puncture so they should not be placed on rocks or other sharp objects. In general landscaped yards, driveways and sidewalks should pose no problem once cleared of snow and ice.
 
Some barriers are advertised as containing chemicals that when wet absorb water and expand to form the structure of the barrier. However, it is unclear whether or not they are reusable. Nor is it clear how they hold up in sub-zero temperatures. Although claiming to be “non-hazardous, non-toxic and will naturally degrade over time.” These products should be closely scrutinized before purchasing. These may not be best for Jackson Hole winters.
 
Some barriers state that antifreeze can be added to the fill water to keep them from freezing. This may sound good, but then you are faced with the disposal of the mixture in an environmentally friendly manner. And antifreeze can be a deadly attractant to dogs. Just “pouring it out” is wrong -- antifreeze can be dangerous in many ways. Consider this with great caution.
 
Any water barrier should be filled only to the ¾ level to account for expansion associated with freezing.
 
Others factors to consider when shopping for flood barriers:
- are they reusable?
- what is the expected longevity?
- do they come with puncture repair kits?
- are they proven to stand up in prolonged, sub-zero weather?
- are they available in various sizes?
- how much do they weigh
- are easily used and stored?
- cost?
 
The following is a partial list of web-sights that sell temporary flood barriers:
 
QUICK DAM – WATER CURB -- Quickdams.com 1-888-761-4405
 
HYDROLOGICAL SOLUTIONS – hydrologicalsolutions.com 1-800-245-0199
 
WATER DAMAGE DEFENSE – waterdamagedefense.com 1-800-318-4159
 
HYDRO RESPONSE Ltd. – hydroresponse.com (New Zealand) 64 3 327 0740
 
GLOBAL EQUIPMENT COMPANY, INC. -- globalindustrial.com 1-888-978-7759
 
WATERSHED INNOVATIONS – hydrabarrier.com 1-888-876-4068
 
HOME DEPOT Sells a QUICK DAM home/consumer level product Homedepot.com
 
THE LISTING OF THESE SITES IN NO WAY constitutes an endorsement OR recommendation BY THE FLAT CREEK WATER IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT, TETON CONSERVATION DISTRICT, THEIR STAFFS OR BOARDS OF DIRECTORS FOR ANY OF THE BUSINESS OR ANY OF their products. THEY ARE MEANT ONLY AS A SAMPLE OF AVAILABLE PRODUCTS.
 
Flat Creek Water Improvement District - October 2015
October 2105
HydraBarrier- Watershed Innovations was founded in 2008 with the goal of creating user-friendly products that protect valuable property and land from water damage. Our flagship product, HydraBarrier, was born out of necessity when one of our founders struggled with his backyard pool overflowing during California’s rainy season.

Flat Creek Water Improvement District 

Teton County

Meets at 420 W. Pearl St.

Jackson, WY 83001

P.O. Box 2037, Jackson, WY 83001

[email protected]