Jeff DuMez, GIS/LIO coordinator for the Brown County Planning and Land Services Department, was recently recognized by the Brown County Home Builders Association for securing grant funding for a 2010 LiDAR project.
Last year, Brown County teamed up with Oconto County, and was successfully awarded a $251,000 grant through the U.S. Geological Survey as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. All of Brown County and a portion of Oconto County along the highway 41 corridor were covered by LiDAR data capable of supporting a 2-foot contour interval elevation dataset. Ayres Associates, a Wisconsin firm, was selected to acquire the LiDAR information on behalf of the counties.
According to Jeff, the counties received significant support from the Builders Association, which resulted in 25 letters of support, including one from Senator Herb Kohl’s office.
Jeff explained to me that the Builders Association actually latched on the the value of improved county-wide elevation data very quickly. “We did an elevation project back in 2000, but it only covered about 40% of the county, primarily over the City of Green Bay. The Builders Association Board recognized how better elevation data in the more rural areas could help their members do everything from better understanding the topography of potential land developments, to assisting home buyers identify lots with the potential for walk-out basements.”
The primary reason for acquiring improved elevation data was to support floodplain mapping. “In places such as Bellevue, which is relatively flat, we have a many areas that are on the fringes of the floodplain. The improved elevation data lets us more accurately map those floodplains. This is important because the floodplain boundaries ultimately affect homeowners that may be required to purchase floodplain insurance, and also developers wanting to create new housing developments.”
Congrats go out to Jeff and Brown/Oconto counties for this well-deserved recognition!