US Army Corps of Engineers
Albuquerque District

Step by Step — How the Corps Responds to Emergencies

Published Aug. 1, 2012
District Civil Engineers Carlos Aragon (left) and John Stages deployed to a forested area near Colorado Springs, Colo., in mid-July to perform a flood risk assessment following the devastating Waldo Canyon Fire.

District Civil Engineers Carlos Aragon (left) and John Stages deployed to a forested area near Colorado Springs, Colo., in mid-July to perform a flood risk assessment following the devastating Waldo Canyon Fire.

The Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico has four fishing ponds that became flood control structures, although they were never meant to be. The surrounding area was heavily burned by the Las Conchas Fire, and subsequent rains brought debris down the canyon and toward the Pueblo. The ponds caught much of the debris and were significantly damaged by the floods and are now considered hazards. The Pueblo has requested technical assistance from the Corps for the myriad problems they are facing, which includes the consideration of a controlled breach of the ponds.

The Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico has four fishing ponds that became flood control structures, although they were never meant to be. The surrounding area was heavily burned by the Las Conchas Fire, and subsequent rains brought debris down the canyon and toward the Pueblo. The ponds caught much of the debris and were significantly damaged by the floods and are now considered hazards. The Pueblo has requested technical assistance from the Corps for the myriad problems they are facing, which includes the consideration of a controlled breach of the ponds.

Public Law 84-99 dictates how the Corps will manage emergencies and provide flood-related technical assistance, as well as flood flight support to state and local governments.

Emergency Management

—Commander declares a flood emergency and activates the Emergency Operations Center

—Emergency Management Branch requests EOC Activation Funds

—An emergency event is created in ENGLink (a computer program that tracks events)

—EOC gathers data for situation reports

—EOC coordinates emergency response actions

Loan of Flood Fighting Materials

—State requests the loan of flood fight materials

—Requester signs a “replace in-kind” agreement

—State or tribal official picks up materials (If the president makes a disaster declaration, there is no requirement to replace materials)

Technical Assistance

—Request for technical assistance comes (and clearly explains assistance required of Corps)

—EOC requests Technical Assistance Funds

—EOC identifies and deploys personnel

Flood Fight

—Governor or representative makes a request

—EOC coordinates with agency to receive help

—EOC must verify that the state or tribal government has committed all available resources

—The water level is bank full or the weather service is predicting bank full, as Corps’ assistance ends when water is bank full

—State or tribal governments provide a description of the flood activities requested

—Corps must evaluate the request to determine if it is a flood fight activity and that the Corps can mobilize and complete the work while the threat is present

—Sponsoring state or tribal government must sign an agreement with the Corps

— EOC requests flood fight funds

—Corps hires contractors to execute work that will augment the best efforts of state and tribal governments