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News 2018-01-08T16:54:41+00:00

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Borough, FEMA floodplain map numbers not in sync

By |GIS, Hydrology, Land Survey, Storm Water|

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials have been working on new flood plain maps for Southeast Alaska, with implementation anticipated by early next year. For Ketchikan and other areas, the new maps expand the number of properties considered in a flood-risk area. Those properties will be required to have flood insurance, if they hold a federally backed mortgage. The number of Ketchikan properties affected by the change, though, is somewhat in dispute. The Ketchikan Gateway Borough’s Planning Department has reported that the number of properties affected by the FEMA flood map expansion will go from 48 to about 1,100. FEMA Region X officials say it will go from about 160 to about 270. Let’s break down

The first steps in flood mitigation at Melrose Terrace

By |Engineering, Hydrology, Storm Water|

BRATTLEBORO — The last days for 11 Melrose Terrace units are coming quick. Project leaders are waiting on Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to get started on the demolition and excavation work. "This is the first unveiling of our work to date on what we're going to do with Melrose Terrace," Chris Hart, executive director of Brattleboro Housing Partnerships, told about 25 attendees of a meeting on Thursday. "I know there's been a lot of discussion over the last seven years, since the flood, about what would happen here." All of the Melrose Terrace affordable-housing units along the Whetstone Brook in West Brattleboro were deemed unsafe after Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011. About a

With a green makeover, Philadelphia is tackling its stormwater problem

By |Architecture, Engineering, Hydrology, Land Survey, Storm Water|

enjamin Franklin, Philadelphia’s favorite son, described his city’s stormwater problem well: By “covering a ground plot with buildings and pavements, which carry off most of the rain and prevent its soaking into the Earth and renewing and purifying the Springs … the water of wells must gradually grow worse, and in time be unfit for use as I find has happened in all old cities.” When he wrote this in 1789, many of Philadelphia’s water sources, the scores of streams that ran into the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers, were already cesspools of household and industrial waste. As they became intolerable eyesores and miasmic health hazards, the city simply covered them with brick arches, turned the

Surveyors uncover history in the woods of St. Louis County

By |Engineering, GIS, Land Survey|

CENTRAL LAKES — A mile off the nearest gravel road in a stand of young aspen, balsam and birch, a four-man crew from the St. Louis County Surveyor's Office hopped off their tracked ATVs and loaded up their backpacks for a walk in the woods. They brought a chainsaw and hand saws, a compass and GPS units, metal signs and fence posts, shovels and post pounders, spray paint and bright pink ribbon, 200-foot measuring tapes and other tools. They were looking for the so-called monument that marks the spot where the corner point of this section line is located, one of the basic points from which all property lines in the U.S. are defined. The

Straight talk on the practice of civil engineering and green infrastructure

By |Engineering, Storm Water|

Civil engineers who work in the field of stormwater management are facing considerable challenges, from regulatory agencies who are adopting green infrastructure approaches to extreme weather events that are challenging baseline assumptions. We caught up with Elizabeth Fassman Beck, who teaches at Steven’s Technical Institute in Hoboken NJ and is the Chair of the Environment & Water Resources Institute Urban Water Resources Research Committee’s Green Roof Task Committee and Mike Hardin, of Geosyntec to ask some tough questions about the practice. 1. In your opinion, how has civil engineering practice around stormwater management changed over the past ten years? EFB: Stormwater infrastructure design objectives are usually dictated by regulation. Historically, regulatory compliance has been met

Drones and LIDAR pump up aerial surveying and mapping

By |Drone, Land Survey|

One might think that maybe, just maybe, advancing technology would not disrupt the age-old, venerated profession of land surveying in the U.S. After all, Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were surveyors as young men, and President Thomas Jefferson was one generally throughout his life. Alas (but to a great extent thankfully), miniaturized digital hardware, robust geographic information services (GIS) and nimble and inexpensive remote sensing devices have foisted due disruption on the profession popular among presidents. Especially when it comes to aerial surveying common today. New technology such as drones and laser imaging, detection and ranging (LIDAR) data acquisition devices have drastically lowered the barriers to entry for entrepreneurs and business. The simpler, lower-cost