Engineering

Pima County Regional Flood Control District projects play a vital role in protecting Pima County residents from flooding and erosion hazards, as well as protecting riparian habitat and providing multi-use trails for public recreation.  The Engineering Division delineates existing flood and erosion hazards to assist the Floodplain Management Division and also undertakes activities intended to reduce flooding and erosion by designing and constructing improvements that will safely convey floodwaters and protect channel banks from erosion.  Structural projects are typically a solution in areas that have been developed or where there is important infrastructure that needs to be protected.  Projects include bank stabilization, bridges, channelization, levees, regional detention basins, and river parks. 

Projects address regional flood and erosion control needs in incorporated and unincorporated areas of Pima County, in areas with repetitive flood damages, as well as to reduce the potential for future flood damages.  For example, major work has been done and continues to focus on improvements along the Santa Cruz River and in Arroyo Chico to control drainage and repetitive flooding in the urban core of Tucson and South Tucson.

The Engineering Division also establishes Design and Construction Standards for flood control projects.

Studies and Project Design/Management

The Basin and Drainage Studies Section serves a planning function and is primarily responsible for mapping floodplains and improving the quality and accuracy of existing floodplain maps. Floodplain mapping is done both in-house and under contract by private consulting firms, and range in scope from single watercourses to entire watersheds.  Their reports often becomes the Special Studies that the Floodplain Management Division uses to ensure that development within the floodplain adheres to applicable regulations.  The Basin and Drainage Studies Section is also involved in water and environmental resources planning, including the Lower Santa Cruz River Living River Project.

The Design Engineering Section designs and builds infrastructure and Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) to enhance public safety by providing flood and erosion control measures.  For a complete list of active and completed projects, please visit the Projects page.

The River Park Management Section helps guide the design and construction of flood control features along river features, such as The Loop.

FEMA Floodplain Mapping Coordination

Through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), Federal law requires the purchase of flood insurance for structures within a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) as identified on FEMA-issued Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) when the property is purchased using federally-secured mortgages, loans, grants, etc.  SFHAs are areas determined to be affected by 100-year floods, the flood that has a 1-percent-annual chance of occurring in any given year.   Within FEMA Other Flood Areas and District mapped floodplains, flood insurance optional but is highly recommended.  District staff works with FEMA to ensure that information provided on the FIRMS to the public is correct. All known regulatory floodplains can be viewed for your property on a Flood Hazard Map. FEMA floodplain maps also can be obtained from the FEMA Map Service Center.

The District is mandated to ensure that new development within an SFHA is constructed to FEMA standards. In order to do this effectively, the District strives to update the FIRMS with the best available information. Updates or revisions to the FIRMS often occur when new development alters the floodplain, or when new technical information, such as detailed topography, is available to analyze a watercourse more accurately.  District staff reviews applications to revise floodplain designations submitted by property owners and developers.  While map revision requests are reviewed and approved by FEMA, an applicant is required to get the District’s acknowledgement of any request for a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) in unincorporated Pima County prior to submittal to FEMA.

Capital Improvement Projects (CIP)

Capital Improvement Program (CIP) projects include bank stabilization, detention and retention basins, bridges, drainage improvements, and river parks, among others. Check out our CIP photo gallery on Flickr for a look at some of these projects. The Pima County Project Management Office page has information on other County capital improvement projects and programs.

 

Design and Construction Standards

CADD Standards and Specifications

The use of Computer-Aided Design and Drawing standards translates into major operational efficiencies for the District and meaningful cost savings for the Pima County taxpayers. To facilitate project submissions to the District strongly encourages submitters to follow these standards when submitting project plans and drawings to the District.

The District's preferred CADD Standards are available for viewing and downloading from the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Other Standards

Guidelines for Establishing Scour and Freeboard for Bridges in Pima County - RFCD and PCDOT, August 2012.

Awards:

1997    American Society of Civil Engineers
            Outstanding Civil Engineer Project
            Honorable Mention for Randolph South Detention Basic

2000    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
            Chief of Engineer’s Award
            Outstanding Environmental Achievement for
            Ed Pastor/Kino Environmental Restoration Project

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Regional Flood Control District

201 N. Stone Avenue, 9th Fl.
Tucson, AZ 85701

Phone: (520) 724-4600
Fax: (520) 724-4621


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