Assessing Flooding and Hydrodynamics for Community Preparedness and Revitalization

City of De Soto, Missouri

Featured image for the project, Assessing Flooding and Hydrodynamics for Community Preparedness and Revitalization


Situated a little over 40 miles southwest of St. Louis, Missouri, the City of De Soto has experienced 4 major floods in the past 5 years.  Residents have witnessed Joachim Creek, a tributary to the Mississippi River, flood more frequency in 2012 after the city built a bridge over the creek and the Missouri Department of Transportation raised the road next to the bridge.  There are many artesian wells that empty into Joachim Creek and changes taking place in the surrounding subdivisions.  When it rains, Joachim becomes a flashy creek, causing houses and the main street of town to flood.  Since 2003, three lives were claimed in storms and the health, safety and welfare of both citizens and first responders put at risk.  Residents feel hopeless because they do not have the means or interest to relocate and few outside experts have offered to develop solutions to the flooding.  Past studies of Joachim Creek are outdated and of little use.

Citizens’ Committee for Flood Relief (CCFR) was established to work alongside city, county, state and federal government to implement solutions and adopt methodology to reduce the impact of flood damage, both structural and non-structural.  The flood group has a state representative who serves as an advocate for them.  CCFR has 10 active members with about 15 that attend their monthly meetings and a larger following on Facebook.  One of their major goals is to establish safety systems such as detectors that will be triggered at nearby firehouses as early warning systems.

This project has been conceived and designed in partnership with community leaders at CCFR and Flood Forum USA.


Susan Liley, Co-Founder of CCFR, and Paula Arbuthnot, Civil Engineer and Advisor to CCFR, will serve as the community leads.  The community leads commit to engaging with the scientific partner on this project and providing strategic direction to ensure that the scientific assessment is in line with their larger vision of flood reduction and use of green infrastructure to mitigate flooding.

Scientist Wanted

As an initial first step, a scientist is requested for 2 months to work with Citizens’ Committee for Flood Relief  to walk the neighborhood with the community leaders, examine and aggregate existing hydrological assessments and create a short write-up summarizing neighborhood-scale vulnerability and describe some next steps to learn more about and/or start mitigating that vulnerability.  These next steps will provide a foundation and refined scope upon which to shape the remainder of this TEX-FFUSA project.

TEX asks all scientific partners to work with the community to help define a project with concrete local impact that they can contribute to as pro-bono volunteers and collaborators.  This work can also position the scientists and communities to seek additional funding, together, for the next stage.



Work will begin as soon as possible (September-October 2017).  The first phase of this project will take approximately 2 months.  Once a refined project scope is identified, the remainder of the project is expected to last 12-16 months.


Desired Skills and Expertise

  • Background in hydrology, hydrogeology or environmental engineering
  • Understanding of groundwater hydrology and hydraulic jumps
  • Experience working with or studying green infrastructure for storm water mitigation
  • Capable of explaining scientific data in a confident manner in potentially politically- charged environments
  • Ability to translate difficult science terminology to a lay audience
  • Willingness to be present for meetings with funders to respond to scientific questions, and work with community leaders to prepare for engaging with funders
  • Willingness to connect science to local concerns
  • Strong listening and communication skills; values local knowledge
  • Competent and open to new ideas
  • Relaxed, easy going personality with a good sense of humor
  • The scientist should be able to visit the community in-person and able to walk neighborhoods with the community leaders

Collaborating Organization(s)

This project is part of one of TEXs’ new cohorts.  TEX has partnered with Flood Forum USA which supports grassroots flood groups across the country by helping them develop strategies for a sustainable future.  TEX is working with ten of their grassroots groups to connect them with scientists who can help them better characterize neighborhood-level flood risks and work effectively with local decision makers to mitigate those risks. 

Flood Forum USA