Currently, the big problem for this part of the country is a lack of water, but County Engineer Clark Rusco notes that won’t always be the issue and he continues to work with state and federal officials on what will happen when Barton County starts to have too much water — which will happen eventually.
Rusco noted that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is changing how it documents information about high water and the county needs to be read to work with them.
“FEMA may be going to a ‘Risk Map’ instead of just a DFIRM,” he noted in a report to Barton County Commissioners this week.
“The RISK map will be based on depth of water grids instead of Base Flood Elevations (BFE).
“The Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) maps currently being developed for Barton County will provide very accurate ground elevation data which can be input into flood studies for the county’s risk map.”
These maps will be more accurate and useful for county officials any time there is a future high water event and the damages have to be documented for the county to get federal assistance, Rusco explained.
“The original flood studies for Barton County were based on the USGS maps which had a contour interval of five or 10 feet.
“The LIDAR maps will have two foot contour intervals with many spot elevations and hydraulic break lines shown which will provide a very good Digital Elevation Model (DEM).
“The DEM can then be used to calculate BFE’s for all of the “A” zones in Barton County which currently don’t have a BFE.”
Rusco continues to work with federal officials on the documentation that is necessary to establish these documents, before they are needed.