By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Whos in and whos out?
New Cow Creek floodplain map to be unveiled Wednesday
new deh cow creek mapping second pic web
The Hoisington Activities Center will be the site of a public open house to discuss proposed changes in the Cow Creek floodplain. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

 HOISINGTON — There will be a public open house to review the Cow Creek floodplain mapping project in Barton County from 2-8 p.m. Wednesday at the Hoisington Recreation Center, 1200 Susank Road in Hoisington. 

Representatives from Kansas Department of Agriculture–Division of Water Resources, engineers and community officials will be on hand to look at draft floodplains with property owners and to discuss the engineering and flood insurance, Barton County Engineer Barry McManaman said. There are over 800 landowners in Barton County who may be impacted one way or another by the revamped map, and all have received letters notifying them of the meeting.

“It really involves structures,” he said. “It doesn’t change anything insurance wise for farm land.”

However, there are some homes and structures that may be affected, including some in the City of Hoisington.

Why redraw the maps now? 

The current maps date back to 1988 and things have changed.

“We have better data now,” McManaman said. Using LIDAR (light detection and ranging), pulsed lasers were use to take more precise measurements. 

“This is a more accurate picture of the floodplain,” McManaman said. The ultimate goal is to prevent people from building in areas prone to flooding.

There is the potential for someone who was in the old floodplain to be removed. But there is also the chance for someone who was not in the plain to be included now, he said. 

“That’s one of the downsides to it,” he said. Banks and mortgage holders most often require customers with outstanding loans to have flood insurance.

McManaman advises the public to check the review the maps online prior to attending the open house to see whether the changes affect them. The maps are available on the front page of the Barton County website ( and 

“A lot of questions can be answered by looking at the website,” McManaman said.

According to McManaman, the state is working with Barton County communities in the Cow Creek watershed to update Federal Emergency Management Agency Flood Insurance Rate Maps in that area. The maps are also being revised in Rice and Reno counties, but they are not as far along in the process. 

What’s next

Updated mapping has been in development since the fall of 2015 and has been reviewed by communities that are located in both Barton County and the Cow Creek watershed. Areas in Barton County outside the Cow Creek watershed are not affected by the mapping update.

Now, the draft FEMA floodplain maps can also be reviewed and commented on by the public through April 21. A public review web map is available at and can also be accessed through the KDA–DWR website.

Comments may be left on the web map and KDA–DWR will review serious comments and provide responses. Comments left on the web map will be public facing and viewable by the public.

The next steps included the distribution of the preliminary map in June and a meeting with municipal officials in July. A 90-day public appeal period will likely take place from August through November.

Following a months-long adoption process, the final map for Barton County should take effect in August 2018.

Cow Creek

Cow Creek is a serpentine 112-mile-long stream that winds through Rice and Reno counties and is a tributary of the Arkansas River; its confluence with the Arkansas is about 10 miles southeast of Hutchinson. But, its watershed area covers over 900 square miles.

It takes in the cities of Bushton, Chase, Claflin, Frederick, Hoisington, Holyrood, Hutchinson, Lorraine, Lyons, Nickerson, Odin, Olmitz, Sterling, Susank and Willowbrook. Counties include Barton, Ellsworth, Reno, Rice and Rush.

Of these municipalities, Barton, Ellsworth, Reno and Rice counties, along with all the cities listed participate in the National Flood Insurance Program.

The major tributaries of the Cow are Calf Creek, Plum Creek, Lost Creek, Little Cow Creek, Spring Creek, Jarvis Creek, Dry Creek, Bull Creek and also overflows from Cheyenne Bottoms of which Blood Creek is a major tributary.