Oklahoma’s Innovative Approach to Flood Management and Resilience

In a significant advancement in statewide flood management, the Oklahoma Flood Plan (OFP) interactive dashboard went live on May 9th coinciding with May being recognized as Flood Awareness Month in Oklahoma. This marks a major milestone in the state’s efforts to enhance resilience against flooding. The dashboard reflects the culmination of collaborative efforts led by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) to create a robust tool that will shape the state’s approach to flood mitigation for years to come. The launch of the dashboard during Flood Awareness Month underscores the state’s commitment to raising awareness and taking proactive measures against flood risks.

Building upon Freese and Nichols’ expertise in helping develop Texas’ first state flood plan, the team has developed a dashboard that aggregates data on floodplains and affected structures. This tool is designed to serve floodplain managers and emergency operators, offering a comprehensive, easily navigable resource that scales from state to community levels. This tool can be used by local officials at all levels to evaluate their flood risk.

The plan’s innovative, updatable platform is designed to identify critical gaps and, where feasible, integrate with the Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan, thereby strengthening Oklahoma’s defenses against future flooding. Importantly, the OFP is entirely financed through federal grants, underscoring a significant commitment from federal sources to support state-level flood mitigation efforts.

“This is a pioneering step for Oklahoma,” said Jeremy Rice, a hydrologist and project manager from Freese and Nichols. “This approach not only leverages the unique funding strategy, but also emphasizes the critical role of federal support in advancing state-level flood mitigation efforts.”

New legislation that took effect in further streamlined the process for Oklahoma communities to secure federal funds for hazard mitigation through a dedicated state fund.

“This legislation will enhance the prioritization of flood mitigation projects and stimulate discussions at the Capitol regarding funding sources for these crucial initiatives,” Jeremy explained. This is the first step in developing an intended use plan for Storm Act funding.

Phase 2 is intended to begin this month and leverage efforts from Phase 1.

For more information on flood management and resilience, please contact Jeremy Rice.