County commission looks for ways to gain better stormwater data

By Cliff McCollum
Posted 10/30/17

After a number of major rain events this year, members of the Baldwin County Commission raised questions about the continued monitoring of area rivers that are known to be flood prone.

Currently, …

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County commission looks for ways to gain better stormwater data

Posted

After a number of major rain events this year, members of the Baldwin County Commission raised questions about the continued monitoring of area rivers that are known to be flood prone.

Currently, the commission funds a yearly agreement between the county and the U.S. Geological Survey to provide for continuous-record stage gauging station at Magnolia Riber at Highway 98 near Foley, Styx River at County Road 64 near Loxley and Styx River at Seminole, as well as a continuous-record rain gauge at Fish River near Silverhill.

Last Sunday’s rain storm caused flooding along several of those rivers that affected county roads, including County Road 48 at Fish River, which reached major flood stage at nearly 18 feet.

Commissioner Tucker Dorsey questioned whether the county could place another monitor on Fish River, closer to County Road 32.

Baldwin County EMA Director Reggie Chitwood said the commission had considered that some years ago, but voted it down at that time.

“The commission decided not to move forward with that since it was around $100,000 just for the installation,” Chitwood said. “And you’d have to add to that another $5,000 to $6,000 per year just to maintain it.”

Dorsey said the price was problematic.

“These stations help us collect good data and gets the word out quickly like we want, but that installation price is still way too high,” Dorsey said.

Chitwood agreed.

“I was surprised at the installation costs myself, but I think we’re covered for now with what we have,” Chitwood said. “If we have more problems with that area in the future, we may want to revise this conversation.”

Commission Chairman Chris Elliott questioned whether the county could use data from upriver to extrapolate what might happen downriver during events.

“It might be able to help with future events to use data we have and try to predict what could happen using that math,” Elliott said.

County Engineer Joey Nunnally said his department could look at putting level loggers downstream from the current station to try to see if good data could be gathered.