The Village of Wheeling is currently preparing for the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System (CRS) review. The review takes into account various aspects of flood prevention infrastructure in the village and ultimately decides the percentage of savings a resident receives for flood insurance. One of the important aspects of the review is a village’s preservation of open space within the floodplain. By having the floodplain clear of structures and impervious surface area, the village receives a higher score due to the lower possibility of damage occurring.
For the village to receive credit for open space preservation, it had to create a list of village owned properties that had areas in the flood plain. Then, the square footage of each area within the floodplain had to be calculated subtracting out any impervious surface area such as roads, sidewalks, parking lots, etc… which was then compared to the entire area of floodplain within the village. The final ratio of open space to flood plain is then used to determine the overall score for open space preservation.
By using GIS, the village was able to save a significant amount of time by using base map data that already existed and floodplain areas provided by FEMA. By using GIS to calculate the areas of open space and impervious surface area for each property, the village did not have to spend time going through building plans and calculating everything by hand. The CRS review is not until later in the year, but by tackling the Open Space Preservation section now, there will be time later to make adjustments to the data.