Over the past 20 years, Minnesota engineering company Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. (SEH®) has been helping local communities protect their residents and businesses from catastrophic flooding events. SEH’s current engineering workload includes flood protection studies and flood risk management projects for the Cities of Austin, Crookston, and Roseau, Minn.
Most recently, the firm won “2010 Project of the Year” honors and a “Seven Wonders of Engineering Award” from the Minnesota Society of Professional Engineers (MSPE) for its work on the East Grand Forks Flood Protection Project.
“We begin working with flood-prone communities in the fall to prepare for potential floods in the spring, but my phone really starts ringing when the snow starts to melt,” SEH flood risk engineer and project manager Mark Angelo explains. “Usually, the call comes from a community that is experiencing a flooding event or has experienced one in the recent past,” he said. “At that point, we mobilize quickly in order to immediately evaluate the conditions and provide recommendations to mitigate flood risks.”
Following the evaluation and recommendations process, SEH engineers design safe, attractive, and functional flood protection facilities that preserve and complement the ambience of the local community. “Each community is different, so we spend a lot of time listening to our clients and then we incorporate their priorities into our flood protection recommendations and designs,” Angelo said. SEH flood protection designs include earthen levees, concrete flood walls, reservoirs, pump stations, diversion channels, weirs, gate wells, and other hydraulic structures.
“In the end, we owe our successful history of flood protection projects to our expert staff,” Angelo added. “Aside from our team’s technical expertise, we have a solid understanding of funding programs, as well as FEMA and US Army Corps of Engineers regulations, design requirements, constructability issues, cost limitations, and scheduling guidelines,” he said. “And that makes all the difference when the snow melts each spring and my phone starts ringing.”