WRN Ambassador Recognition - City of Austin Watershed Protection

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  1. What is the mission of your organization?
    The mission of the City of Austin Watershed Protection Department is to reduce the impact of flooding, erosion and water pollution on our community to protect lives, property and the environment.

  2. What has your organization done to promote a Weather Ready Nation? (i.e. what did your WFO recognize your for?)
    The Watershed Protection Department works to promote a Weather Ready Nation by taking an active role in promoting flash flood safety and floodplain management in our community. We passionately promote the life-saving “Save Yourself --Turn Around, Don’t Drown!” message and sponsor an annual poster contest for Austin area children. The goal of the poster contest is for children to not only learn about this important message but also influence their parents about flood safety and safe driving habits; and for drivers to understand that when they choose to drive across a flooded roadway, they are endangering themselves, their passengers and emergency workers who attempt to rescue them. The poster winners receive several types of recognition and prizes, including NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radios and rides on Austin Fire Department and Emergency Management Service’ swift water rescue boats.

    Our department also maintains a website called ATXfloods.com, which shows the location and status of more than 1,600 low water crossings in the Austin area. According to the NWS, 75% of the flash flood deaths in Texas happen on the road. ATXfloods.com provides critical situational awareness about flooding conditions for Austin area drivers. The Watershed Protection Department also has an active social media presence on Twitter and the @ATXfloods account keeps our community informed and educated regarding flash flooding.

    Watershed Protection staff are also committed to public outreach, including giving presentations to community groups, schools, and neighborhood associations. Our “floodplain simulator” is popular with school children and shows the importance of sound floodplain management in our community. In addition, Watershed Protection has created a “Flooding 101” class for the Austin Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) to provide flood safety and floodplain management education for residents. The department also runs radio and digital ads when flooding is expected to remind our residents of the dangers of flash flooding and to help keep them safe.

  3. What does being an Ambassador mean to you?
    According to the Austin Hazard Mitigation Action Plan, flash flooding is our number one natural hazard. As WRN Ambassadors, we are dedicated to helping our community be ready, responsive, and resilient to the impacts of flash flooding.

    As well as partnering with the Austin Fire Department, Austin/Travis County Emergency Management Services, and Homeland Security and Emergency Management we also partner with the National Weather Service, the Texas Floodplain Management Association, the U.S. Geological Survey and LCRA as a way to strengthen our community awareness about the dangers of flooding in Central Texas’ Flash Flood Alley.

  4. What are your goals for the next year concerning preparedness?
    Our goals are to continue promoting “Save Yourself –Turn Around, Don’t Drown!” and educating our community about the dangers of flash flooding. We also plan to expand our network of creek cameras available on ATXfloods.com which provide visual situational awareness for residents and responders. In addition, we have added a flood safety component to our “Watershed Detectives” curricula for middle schools that will begin this fall
Michelle Lammers

Michelle Lammers

Michelle Lammers
Michelle Lammers Michelle Lammers Michelle Lammers