Inside the CPCX


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Collaboration and Public Participation Center of Expertise Logo

CPCX is located at the Institute for Water Resources in Alexandria, Virginia.

Multihazard Tournaments

The Multi-Hazard Tournament (MHT) is a unique and emerging workshop methodology within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). An MHT applies concepts of serious gaming and collaborative planning to the processes of learning and making decisions about multiple hazards that affect a particular watershed, jurisdiction or region. The Institute for Water Resources (IWR) initially piloted MHTs in 2014.

The MHT process is innovative because of the manner in which it allows for competing interests and collaboration to blend. It is based on the premise that almost all cultures and individuals understand and enjoy sports, teams and structured games. The MHT process also brings to life plans, models, and recommendations that would otherwise sit on shelves.

Examples of Multihazard Tournaments

In June 2017, two MHTs were organized by the USACE Fort Worth District and the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) with funding provided by the Silver Jackets Program. The purpose of these MHTs was to share knowledge and information with local stakeholders regarding ways in which they could mitigate and prepare for future flooding, drought, water quality and riparian degradation hazards. More specifically, the MHTs were used to bring awareness and buy-in to SARA-developed Watershed Master Plans which outline recommendations for where local investments would best address these hazards in the San Antonio watershed.

TPhoto of a multihazard tournament, in which four individuals in referee uniforms stand over and discuss with individuals working on computers at a tablehese two MHTs were the first conducted by USACE that have had a primary focus on local investment decisions at the sub-basin level. Local investments are critical to mitigation and adaptation in Texas. Because the upper and lower San Antonio basins differ markedly from one another in terms of both hydrological and socioeconomic aspects, the SWF and SARA team decided early on to organize a separate tournament for each sub-basin. This choice resulted the identification of potential ways to coordinate efforts for mitigation in the future, stakeholders meeting others who could be beneficial professional
contacts in the future, and participants stating they’d be more likely to consider a different approach to planning for hazard mitigation in the future that they wouldn’t have considered prior to the tournaments.

As USACE has gained experience conducting MHTs, a key best practice that has emerged is the importance of identifying the objectives of the MHT as early as possible in order to determine the scope of the effort overall. The MHT is a flexible model which can be used to achieve a range of desired objectives. While an MHT with the objectives of learning and relationship building may require a relatively small amount of resources to implement, an MHT with the objective of conducting decision making and planning processes will likely involve a larger and more complex scope of work and a significant amount of resources. As vehicles for bringing to life existing plans and models, the MHTs work best when information and data already exist and can be used as direct inputs to the tournament.