Sheridan County Flood Risk Assessment: Understanding and Mitigating the Threat

YouTube video


In a recent YouTube video titled “Sheridan County Kickoff Meeting 2/3/2021,” representatives from the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources discussed a project aimed at assessing and mitigating flood risks in Sheridan County. Floods pose a significant threat to communities, as was evident during the 2019 event that impacted almost the entire state of Nebraska. The goal of the project is to update the flood insurance rate maps (FIRMs) for the county using modern engineering methods and provide accurate information that can help communities identify and reduce flood risks.

Meet the Team

The video begins by introducing the team members involved in the project. Stefan Shape, an engineer with the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, is the project manager. Adele, a flood mitigation planner, will later discuss the concept of flood mitigation and the available options. Michelle York serves as the administrative assistant, ensuring the smooth functioning of the project. Mackenzie Merritt, the technical assistant, is responsible for addressing any issues related to audio or resource access during the meetings.

Introductions and Roll Call

The team then moves on to a roll call, introducing the participants from Sheridan County and FEMA representatives. Lauren Paul, the Sheridan County board chair, and Madison Smith, the Sheridan County commissioner, are among the participants. James Croats represents the county as the floodplain administrator. Glenn Spa, the city manager of Gordon, Nebraska, which falls under Sheridan County, and Mike Winter, the retired public works director for Gordon, Nebraska, are also present.

Project Overview

The video highlights the purpose of the meeting and the project as a whole. The primary objective is to understand and assess the flood risk in Sheridan County and make the communities more resilient by identifying areas of vulnerability. The team aims to update the FIRMs using modern engineering methods and provide accurate flood risk information to the communities. This information will enable them to take necessary actions to mitigate flood risks effectively.

The Need for Updating Flood Maps

The current flood maps for Sheridan County date back to 2008. Although they are relatively recent for the state of Nebraska, technological advancements and changing flood risks necessitate an update. The existing paper maps need to be converted into digital maps, which will enhance their accessibility and ease of use. Additionally, the availability of more precise lidar data from 2017 will enable the creation of more accurate floodplain boundaries. This, in turn, will help determine the areas where flood insurance is required and update floodplain management ordinances.

The Floodplain Concept

The video then looks at the definition of a floodplain, which encompasses various aspects. A floodplain represents the land adjacent to a waterway that is prone to flooding. It can include both the one percent annual chance floodplain, also known as the base flood or hundred-year flood, and the flood fringe, floodway, and coastal high hazard areas. Each term identifies a specific area vulnerable to flooding due to its proximity to water sources. Understanding these different terms is crucial in assessing and mitigating flood risks effectively.

The Flood Mapping Process

The team proceeds to explain the process of developing updated flood maps. It involves three main components: the base map, topography, and floodplain boundaries. The base map includes non-engineering data like aerial photography, road layers, and corporate boundaries. The topography utilizes lidar information at a one-meter resolution, providing accurate elevation data for floodplain delineation. The floodplain boundary combines hydrology and hydraulics to define the physical limits of flood risk, aligning them with property boundaries for easy interpretation.

Importance of Reducing Flood Risk

Adele takes the stage to emphasize the significance of reducing flood risks in Sheridan County. Communities must be proactive in assessing their vulnerability and implementing measures to mitigate flood damage. By utilizing updated flood risk information and understanding the value of flood reduction efforts, communities can safeguard their infrastructure, protect residents and properties, and enhance overall resilience.

Project Timeline and Next Steps

To conclude the presentation, the team outlines the timeline for the project and the subsequent steps. The plan is to complete the mapping project within a specific timeframe, enabling the communities to have access to accurate and updated flood insurance rate maps. These maps will serve as a basis for identifying flood-prone areas and formulating floodplain management ordinances. The team also encourages active participation from the communities and invites questions or clarifications during the presentation or through the chat feature.


The Sheridan County Flood Risk Assessment project aims to provide accurate and up-to-date flood risk information to the communities in Sheridan County. By utilizing modern engineering methods and incorporating lidar data, the team seeks to create digital flood insurance rate maps that will facilitate effective flood management. The video presentation discussed the project’s goals, the involvement of relevant stakeholders, and the importance of reducing flood risks. The team highlighted the need for updating flood maps, the concept of floodplains, and the process of creating accurate floodplain boundaries. With a focus on community resilience, the project aims to equip communities with the necessary tools to mitigate flood risks and protect their residents and infrastructure.

[Keywords: Sheridan County GIS, flood risk assessment, flood insurance rate maps, updating flood maps, mitigating flood risks, community resilience, lidar data, floodplain boundaries]

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