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Integrated Flood Response Program for Orange County, Indiana

The Indiana Silver Jackets Team has built a comprehensive flood risk reduction program in southern Indiana for Orange County (population 19,310).  The US Geological Survey, Indiana DNR, and the USACE worked together with local officials on several activities that were necessary to develop and incorporate a program within the County.

A dam breach analysis addressing the risk of a local reservoir was required, along with the installation of several lake level gages.  An inundation map was created to provide real-time flood forecasts.  A flood response plan that was based on a state template was completed and supported tabletop exercises and public workshops.

The completed project raised flood risk awareness countywide by combining the flood inundation maps and dam breach maps to help the community better understand their not so obvious flood risk and the need for effective plans.  The risk information is presented in a realistic manner and format to allow access by both emergency officials and the general public.  The follow up workshops held within the county helped train participants on how to use this technology and better understand their flood risks.

As an outcome of this project, community officials and the public are able to visualize potential damages due to the graphical map format, which in turn has prompted action. For example, the city of Tipton utilized this data to help create a comprehensive resiliency plan. Likewise, Orange County officials utilized the graphical maps to help plan for the Senior PGA Golf Tournament and develop potential response plans to address evacuation routes, alternative parking, egress/ingress plans, etc. in the event of a flood.  In addition, Orange County has utilized the tools to analyze impacts of flash flooding to assist residents and promote potential opportunities for mitigation.  These actions will reduce property damage, lost revenue, and hardships.

This integrated approach has encouraged similar planning efforts elsewhere within Indiana.