Army Corps of Engineers approves flood mitigation plan for First Mesa and Moenkopi Villages

The Village of Moenkopi and other parts of the Hopi Reservation experienced heavy flooding in 2021 causing a state of emergency. (Photos/Halaayvi Monongye)

The Village of Moenkopi and other parts of the Hopi Reservation experienced heavy flooding in 2021 causing a state of emergency. (Photos/Halaayvi Monongye)

KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. — The Hopi Tribe has announced that the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, through the Silver Jackets program, has approved assistance for flood mitigation projects at First Mesa and Moenkop.

The Silver Jackets program has secured funding and resources to enhance First Mesa and Moenkopi preparedness and response capabilities in the face of potential flood events.

Silver Jackets teams are interagency teams that facilitate collaborative solutions to state flood risk priorities. They bring together multiple state, federal, and sometimes tribal and local agencies to learn from one another and work together to reduce the risk of floods and sometimes other natural disasters.

The Hopi flood project kicks off this month with the program selecting a team to discuss roles, responsibilities and project expectations.

In January and February the group will collect and analyze data relevant to flood risks and vulnerabilities, and develop an emergency action plan, including strategies, procedures and communication protocols.

In March and April, the team will review and approve the plan with tribal and agency subject matter experts.

Between April and May, the group will organize and conduct tabletop exercises to ensure residents are well prepared.

After the training, the team will continue to monitor and evaluate the plan’s effectiveness and make adjustments as necessary.

The Silver Jackets work through partnerships and optimize the multi-agency utilization of federal resources by leveraging state, local and tribal resources, including information, talent and funding, while preventing duplication of effort.

Activities range throughout the flood risk management lifecycle and promote shared responsibility. Team activities have included state hazard mitigation plan updates, inundation mapping, tabletop exercises, and development of emergency action plans, risk communication workshops, coordination of perishable data collection, and many others.

Although each state Silver Jackets team is unique, common agency participants include state agencies with mission areas of hazard mitigation, emergency management, floodplain management, or natural resources conservation.

Federal participation typically includes the Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Weather Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Geological Survey, as well as the Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Environmental Protection Agency, among others.

Some teams include membership from tribes and academic institutions, regional and local government, and non-governmental organizations.

Anyone with questions can contact Chris Stanton, Silver Jackets coordinator, at (480) 416-6886 or email Christopher.D.Stanton@usace.army.mil.

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