Flood Apex Program increases flood resilience through emerging tech

The Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence (CRC) is partnering with the Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) on a program that aims to save lives, reduce property loss and enhance resilience to disruptive flood events.

DHS S&T created the Flood Apex Program in 2014 to bring new and emerging technologies together to increase communities’ resilience to flood events and to provide predictive analytic tools for floods. The goals of the program, which is managed by the First Responders Group of DHS S&T,  are to reduce fatalities and property losses from future flood events, increase community resilience to disruptions caused by flooding and develop better investment strategies to prepare for, respond to, recover from and mitigate against flood hazards.

The projects

The CRC Flood  Apex project team is led by CRC Lead Principal Investigator Dr. Rick Luettich, CRC Executive Director Tom Richardson and CRC Director Dr. Gavin Smith.

The team provides support to the program in several ways:

    • They manage a Research Review Board, chaired by Dr. Sandra Knight of WaterWonks, LLC, which serves as an expert panel and identifies transition pathways for Flood Apex end-products to help ensure they are useable by their intended recipients. The 15-member Board include six members from academia and nine members representing various federal, state and local agencies, plus the private sector.
    • They managed a landscape survey by the RAND Corporation of flood-related decision support tools already in existence.  The survey determined existing resiliency measures and indicators, the degree to which resilience science can be translated into risk reduction methods, the existing decision support systems and other policy management choices that can be made with existing information.
    • Together with the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI), they co-hosted a Flood Analytics Colloquium in Nov. 2017, convening a multi-disciplinary group of technical specialists and end-users to reimagine flood analytics. The event brought together thought leaders from many disciplines to challenge existing flood data management and analytics by introducing innovative and disruptive technologies that could change the path of flood impact and predictive analytics.
    • Managing a study by AECOM to improve understanding of state- and local-level mitigation decisions, activities and investments that target enhancement of community resiliency, and which reduce flood fatalities and losses. This is being done through analysis of the post-Hurricane Floyd statewide North Carolina efforts in 1999 (the state’s most costly disaster to date) against the impacts and consequences of Hurricane Matthew in 2016. This also will be one element of the CRC-led Hurricane Matthew Disaster Recovery and Resilience Initiative.