Contractors working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District install a 23-foot-tall concrete shaft enclosure weighing approximately 120,000 pounds as part of the guard wall at the Monongahela River Locks and Dam 4 in Charleroi, Pennsylvania, Nov. 16, 2023.

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Nashville District names Mark Veasey Employee of the Month for February 2023

Nashville District Public Affairs
Published April 26, 2023
Man wearing blue and white plaid shirt sits at desk smiling.

Mark Veasey, a civil engineer in the Water Resources section, Engineering and Construction Division, is named U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Employee of the Month for February 2023. (USACE Photo by Michael Krneta)

Man wearing blue and white plaid shirt sits at desk smiling.

Mark Veasey, Nashville District Employee of the Month for February 2023, is seen here modeling in the HEC- RAS system. (USACE Photo by Michael Krneta)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Apr. 26, 2023) – Mark Veasey, a civil engineer in the Water Resources section, Engineering and Construction Division, is named U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Employee of the Month for February 2023. Veasey earned recognition for serving as lead engineer on the Floodplain Management Services (FPMS) project to study the Trace Creek watershed, after the devastating August 2021 flood across Waverly, Tenn.

Lt. Col. Joseph Sahl, Nashville District commander, announced Veasey’s selection stating, “[He is] another great example of what happens when technical expertise is combined with outstanding effort.”

The Waverly flood was one of the most significant rain events in Tennessee history. Flash flooding resulted in 20 deaths across Humphreys County. A team of engineers including Veasey, deployed to collect high water marks and data on Trace Creek watershed.

Often referred to as “High Water Mark,” for his exceptionally high standards and hard work, Veasey “has set the standard for our branch,” said Michael Rawetzki, hydraulic engineer in the Water Resources section.

Veasey began the FPMS project in August 2021 with an estimated August 2023 completion date. Once completed, the project will provide an updated flood frequency analysis for the Trace Creek watershed supplemented with historical data dating back to the late 1890s.It will also include detailed hydrologic and hydraulic models for the Trace Creek watershed. The completed FPMS study will aid the Waverly and Humphreys County Trace Creek Watershed Plan Study in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The study will also result in two products: a flood preparedness mapbook and a flood insurance study update.

The Trace Creek Flood Preparedness Mapbook was designed to give local officials critical information during forecasted storm events to prepare for flooding, disseminate information, and communicate impacts to the public and other necessary agencies. The mapbook relates incremental amounts of rainfall in the Trace Creek basin over a specific duration (ex. 3 inches over 12-hours) to the mapping of flood extents, bridge overtopping, and critical infrastructure impacts (schools, churches, and healthcare facilities) through detailed modeling results.

The mapbook is a critical tool provided to the community to create situational awareness of the flood impact on Trace Creek and inform preparation measures for future storm events for many years.

The Flood Insurance Study Update will provide detailed information on flood frequency events for entire Trace Creek floodplain. The models and a detailed report of the modeling process and results will also be provided to Federal Emergency Management agency in the submittal. The last flood frequency analysis for Trace Creek was completed in 1986. The current study adds an additional 35 years of data, along with updated terrain, high-water marks, and bridge surveys, to the flood frequency analysis.

The FPMS project was to be completed by August 2023, according to Kelley Philbin, chief, Water Resources section. “Mark is going to conclude the study this month; in total 20 months,” Philbin continued.

“Mark recognized the significance of this project and the people it affects, and he rose to the occasion to accomplish the goal,” said Rawetzki.

For Veasey, completing the study is an example of the goal he set out to accomplish when he joined the Nashville District in June 2020. “I wanted to help communities and the public with their flooding issues and flood preparedness,” he reminisced.

Completing the Waverly study came with obstacles. “The challenge was the lack of gage data on Trace Creek,” said Veasey. The team applied new modeling methods from the high-water marks collected from the May 2010 and August 2021 events and developed a basin-wide two-dimensional Hydrologic Engineering Center’s River Analysis System model for the Trace Creek watershed to aide in event calibration.

“The high-water marks signified the peak water surface during each flood event and the 2D model was calibrated to the high-water marks,” said Veasey. He finished, “The calibration to real, historic events gave us confidence that the models we developed accurately replicate routing and the extent of storms in the watershed.”

Veasey’s dedication has had an impact on the Water Resources section. “Mark has provided invaluable contributions to the Water Resources Section through his hard work and commitment,” said Philbin.

The honor of Employee of the Month was a complete surprise to Veasey, “I am grateful and shocked,” he said. “This award tells me I’m benefitting the team and making a positive impact to the Water Resources team and the sponsors I work with.”

He attributes his success to the great Master Yoda and reminds his fellow colleagues, “Do or do not; there is no try.”

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Chick Lock

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