Antelope County landowners can now easily show state and federal officials how the flood impacted their property thanks to quick thinking by their county assessor.
With a click of their computer mouse — and from the convenience of their own computer or devices — the public can quickly compare the March 2019 flood to the July 2018 map, showing what property was under water on Monday, March 18.
“I’m able to zoom in and measure everything off of those layers, so I can tell how many square foot of land was under water at that time,” Antelope County Assessor Kelly Mueller said. “We can also see how the route of the river has changed.”
Mueller encouraged commissioners to approve aerial mapping during an emergency meeting on Thursday, March 14 — the morning after the county declared a disaster thanks to the historic flooding. By approving the $18,000 fee so quickly, Mueller was able to hire Cornerstone Mapping to fly over the county on Monday, March 18, to begin documenting the flood with aerial photographs that have since been plotted on the county’s GIS with exact points.
The map is available on the county assessor’s GIS link online and are assessable under base layers. The public can click the 2019 flood to see the county on March 18.
Mueller said it was vital for the county and its landowners to have immediate documentation of the flood to show the damage.
“This is a benefit to our landowners,” said Road Superintendent Casey Dittrich. “This is huge for preventative planning. There is a deadline for farmers to say they’re not going to be able to get ground planted, and this will help them to show an act of nature will not allow them to farm this ground. It’s also helpful to show how boundaries have changed with the river shifting its route.”
Mueller said the mapping will also impact assessment for 2020. She said land is assessed as of January 1, so the flood will not be considered for 2019.
“If someone can’t farm their ground this year, the maps make it easy for me to measure all of the waste and the sand,” she said. “The next maps won’t be done until 2020, so having this allows me to properly assess the ground after the flood.”
Mueller said she recommended the mapping to Commissioner Charlie Henery, who serves on the county’s emergency management team. She said Henery was the only commissioner on the board during the 2010 flood and saw the benefits of mapping then and pushed for immediate mapping after this flood.
“This is about documenting the flood, including for FEMA, and helping landowners measure their waste, which will help them in the long run,” Mueller said. “If it’s not repairable before January 1 of next year, this is a great tool to measure from because without it, this would be a guessing game.”
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To view the March 18 flood mapping, go to https://antelope.gworks.com and click on basemaps.
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