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Navigating floodwater management

Navigating floodwater management Drone footage shows construction of Souris River (Mouse River) flood-risk reduction structures.

The benefits of flood-risk management are undeniable. Yet flood-risk management projects often involve multiple planning and design phases and complex challenges, such as strict engineering and regulatory requirements, multiple consultant firms, concerned stakeholders, funding challenges, and rigorous project schedules. Whether you’re establishing a new flood-risk management plan or upgrading an existing structure, Barr can provide planning, modeling, and engineering through final design and construction, as well as funding assistance. Our team includes civil, water resources, geotechnical, structural, mechanical, electrical, and cost engineers, as well as certified floodplain managers, natural resources scientists, and environmental permitting specialists.

Flood-risk assessments and planning

As municipalities, governments, and water management organizations face new flood management challenges (such as changing climate and precipitation estimates), new tools and expertise are crucial. Thoughtful, long-range plans are needed to manage infrastructure and guide future improvements. Risk-based approaches to evaluating infrastructure can help communities understand potential impacts, assess vulnerabilities, and inform and prioritize both short- and long-term plans.

Barr provided geotechnical engineering, hydraulic structure engineering, environmental assessment, and permitting to help the City of Grafton reduce flood risk.

Flood-risk management design and construction

Federally certified flood-risk reduction local projects are particularly challenging, involving rigorous U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) planning and evaluation guidelines, design standards, accreditation criteria, and review and approval processes. Barr was the first firm within the USACE St. Paul District to execute the Section 408 process required to modify a USACE-designed/constructed levee system. In the past six years, we have obtained USACE Section 408 approvals for five separate levee modification projects, including a programmatic Section 408 approval. In the last decade, Barr has helped five cities receive FEMA levee-system accreditation, enabling their residents to achieve significant savings in flood-insurance costs.

Flood-risk reduction construction projects typically encounter unforeseen challenges, especially when retrofitting features in developed areas. Solving these challenges requires regular and up-front communication and collaboration among engineering and constructions teams and the client on revised approaches and evaluation of alternatives and cost implications. Barr’s construction management work is led by flood-risk professionals with experience leading multi-year, multi-firm projects with values in excess of $250 million. Our stringent construction-inspection quality control programs have received approval by federal agencies including the USACE and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Floodplain management

Communities, lenders, and insurance providers often use flood-insurance rate maps to gather information about flood-prone areas and floodplain development. If you are seeking to reduce flood damage or accurately assess floodplain boundaries, Barr can help. Since the 1970s, Barr has worked with FEMA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and state agencies on floodplain-related projects ranging from levee inspections, evaluations, certification for communities and municipalities, and flood insurance studies and map revisions (LOMRs and CLOMRs). Our certified floodplain managers specialize in resolving regulatory tangles and modeling issues.

To learn more about how Barr can help you navigate the complex challenges associated with flood-risk management projects, contact us

Related projects

Upgraded levee system manages flood risk for Minot residents

For the Mouse River flood-risk reduction system improvements project, Barr provided detailed design, permitting assistance, and construction oversight for two system segments, including the North Minot levee system that will keep thousands of structures out of the floodplain.

Construction of an upgraded levee system helped the City of Minot with flood-risk management.

Improvements to municipal flood-risk-protection system

Barr helped the City of South St. Paul, Minnesota, with an aggressive, three-phased improvement project to address deficiencies in its flood-risk-projection system that was originally constructed in 1968.

Barr helped the City of South St. Paul improve its municipal flood-risk protection system.

Vulnerability assessment of municipal stormwater system

To help the City of Edina, Minnesota, better understand flood risk for its community, Barr assisted in updating the city’s comprehensive water resources management plan and conducted a stormwater system vulnerability assessment for 25 specific flood areas.

Barr conducted a stormwater system vulnerability assessment for 25 specific flood areas for the City of Edina.


Scott Sobiech - Vice President, Senior Water Resources Engineer
Scott Sobiech
Vice President, Senior Water Resources Engineer


Joe Waln - Vice President, Senior Water Resources Engineer
Joe Waln
Vice President, Senior Water Resources Engineer


Cory Anderson - Senior Water Resources Engineer
Cory Anderson
Senior Water Resources Engineer
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