News: Flood plain manager flooded with praise
Story by Patrick Bloodgood
NORFOLK, Va. – A local flood plain manager earned national recognition this month for her work educating and attempting to reduce flood risks for citizens.
Michelle Hamor, a San Diego native, and chief of Norfolk District’s flood plain management services section, is the 2013 recipient of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Flood Risk Manager of the Year Award.
The Corps gives the award yearly to individuals who excel in the field of flood plain management, which plans for and identifies ways at controlling and reducing flood damages experienced by citizens living in flood plains.
“Michelle is confident, outgoing, and most importantly, passionate about what she does,” Darrow said. “We are at ground zero for the effects of sea-level rise; she has been engaged in local, regional, national and international forums on the topic.”
Sea-level rise is a hot topic as it has been documented in a federally funded report showing the rate of change rising 4.44 millimeters a year, a notion that Hamor has embraced.
“She has the vision to incorporate climate change and sea-level rise into her long-term planning for the District,” said Col. Paul Olsen, Norfolk District commander. “That's what makes her a game changer in our Corps.”
Hamor, who received her flood plain manager certification from the Association of State Flood Plain Managers and has a civil engineering degree from Old Dominion University, strives on a daily basis to assist her fellow citizens make better decisions when it comes to living, working and playing in the state’s flood plains.
“If we are not reducing risk either through education or changed decisions and practices, then we are not doing our jobs,” Hamor said. “We can never completely eliminate flood risk, but we can have an impact.”
Her goal is to make more flooding information available to those who need it most by supporting the multi-agency Silver Jackets Flood Risk Information System and providing a state-wide flood insurance rate map that any citizen can use.
“If we can support the commonwealth and communities, and educate and empower the citizens to make the best informed decisions about where they live and the active role they can take in their personal safety, then we are successful,” Hamor said.
Hamor will be presented the award at the USACE Senior Leaders Conference this summer.