Town of Ashland Flood Resiliency Plan

Alice Ortman, PE, Senior Associate, JMT

In response to worsening flooding conditions exacerbated by climate change and to address flooding in low-income and environmentally vulnerable areas, the Town of Ashland contacted JMT to develop a flood resiliency plan for the Town.  JMT initially assisted the Town in preparing the application for grant funds via the Virginia Community Flood Preparedness Fund.  The Plan included a gap analysis, an environmental justice assessment, a GIS analysis of vulnerable areas, and an identification of project concepts and flood management tools and strategies that would improve flooding conditions. The JMT team analyzed and evaluated past drainage and watershed studies completed for the Town, the Town codes and ordinances associated with floodplain management and stormwater management, existing best management practices (BMP) facilities for retrofit, stream watersheds, historically reoccurring flooding problems documented by the Town, and adjacent projects and development by other parties that could incorporate additional flood mitigation measures. Over twenty potential project locations were identified to include drainage improvements in neighborhoods and public areas, flood mitigation BMPs, retrofits of existing BMPs, and stream restoration projects. The stream restoration projects have the potential to provide additional storage and attenuation in the floodplain through recreation of the floodplain and floodway, including the addition of flood mitigation BMPs and floodplain reconnection. Different sites and neighborhoods with flooding problems and low-lying areas were also identified for improvements. In addition, watershed studies and models were suggested to further vet and evaluate the feasibility and potential benefits of the conceptual project recommendations. The team also explored partnering opportunities with Hanover County, the Virginia Department of Transportation, Randolph-Macon College, and other stakeholders, for flood improvement projects associated with existing and future plans. As part of the Public Involvement process, GIS specialists developed a website using an ArcGIS StoryMap so that citizens could navigate through the project suggestions and floodplain management tools and strategies within the plan document. The StoryMap is interactive with links, downloads, information, and a Google form used to solicit additional feedback from citizens regarding flooding and the condition of flooding observed in the Town.

Author Bio

Alice Ortman has 20 years of progressive Water Resources experience, 9 years at VDOT, 7 years at RK&K, and 4 years at JMT. She is the regional Water Resources leader in Virginia responsible for oversight and coordination of the drainage design, stormwater management plans, erosion and sediment control plans, and Hydrologic and Hydraulic Analyses (H&HA’s) throughout the state. She has managed MS4 compliance and implementation and Resiliency task orders for engineering On-Call term contracts for state and local entities. She graduated from UVA with a BS in Civil Engineering and has settled in the Richmond area. She calls Charles City County her home and enjoys her free time on the Rivah with her son, 2 pittbulls, and calico cat.