(L-R) ASFPM Chair Maria Cox Lamm, Jamila Johnson and ASFPM Executive Director Chad Berginnis.
The association created the John R. Sheaffer Award for Excellence in
Flood Proofing to honor its namesake for his pioneering work in
demonstrating flood proofing as a viable flood-loss reduction measure, and for
his decades of work in promoting and advancing the knowledge of these measures.
Jamila Johnson, this year’s Sheaffer
award winner, was previously the managing engineer for Houston, Texas during
Hurricane Harvey and helped the city revise its floodplain ordinance that was
adopted in April 2018.
The new ordinance requires
elevation to the 500-year flood level +2 additional feet of freeboard in SFHAs
and 500-year flood zones. These are now some of the most stringent floodplain
regulations in the country. Johnson, now with the Houston Public Works Department,
helped prepare the Houston Public Works Floodplain Management Data Analysis
Chapter, which not only outlined the need and process for adopting the higher
elevation requirements, but also helped to improve design and construction
requirements as a whole. The new ordinance went into effect last September.
leadership has helped to guide and reduce future flood damage throughout the
city. The impact of the new floodplain management requirements, in the form of
elevating 2-feet above the 500-year flood elevation, should positively impact
construction and reduce flood risk throughout Houston for generations.