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

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Will a Huge New Flood Barrier Save Venice?

By |Drone, Engineering, Storm Water|

VENICE—On a gray, late-winter day, a converted chapel in the Arsenal, the city’s medieval boatyard, hummed with 21st-century activity. Engineers were looking at screens that displayed tables, maps, and charts on the conditions of the Venetian Lagoon. This was the MOSE control center: the operational heart of a megaproject to protect Venice, one of the world’s most beautiful cities, from threatening waters. For nearly seven years, the engineers here have raised and lowered virtual doors, gathering a series of data to be conveyed into a sophisticated forecasting model. Spread across dozens of islands and known as “the floating city” for its ubiquitous canals and bridges, Venice has grappled with inundation for centuries. But due to

Remapping Montecito: FEMA establishing new ‘hazard zones’ and 100-year-flood elevations

By |Engineering, Hydrology, Land Survey|

Last week, the owners of a one-story house on Santa Elena Lane sought preliminary approval from the Montecito Board of Architectural Review for an 800-square-foot addition and a new wall in the front yard to deflect floodwaters from Montecito Creek. The 1/9 Debris Flow carried mud right up to the house but not inside. The property was green-tagged; county inspectors did not find any structural damage. But on Thursday, planners put the proposed addition on hold until the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) draws a “recovery map” for Montecito. Thiep Cung, the board vice-chair, objected to the delay and said he was tired of looking at piles of mud all over the place. “It’s refreshing

Drones ahoy! Woman-owned business takes innovative approach

By |Drone, Engineering, Land Survey|

One sunny day in March, someone looking up at the sky over the Straight River just west of the Becker county line might have noticed an object flying a zigzag route. Was it a bird? A plane? No, it was an unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone. Its name is Hubert. Hubert and another quadcopter drone, known as Junior, belong to SC Recon Drone Intelligence and Technology Services of Park Rapids, a business started last July by Shelly Carroll. A longtime ecologist and global information systems (GIS) professional, Carroll quit her job with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) last September to do drone work full time. Hubert and Junior are not the lightweight plastic drones

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