Montana selects PBS&J to continue comprehensive map modernization program

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HELENA, MT, April 3, 2007 -- With more than 6,000 river miles of floodplain to manage and a steadily growing population, the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) continually seeks ways to better understand flood potential and mitigate or prevent future flood disasters. Key to this effort is the comprehensive Montana Map Modernization project, a statewide effort begun in 2005 to complete Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM) conversions and perform floodplain mapping and related work per Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) standards.

As part of this comprehensive program, the Montana DNRC recently awarded PBS&J its third DFIRM conversion and floodplain map modernization contract after a competitive bid process. This follow-on effort, to be completed in the next two years, includes the DFIRM conversions for up to three additional counties: Cascade, Lewis and Clark, and Fergus. In previous contracts, PBS&J completed DFIRM maps for Missoula and Flathead counties, and is currently working on Yellowstone County.

According to Millie Bowman, Montana DNRC Map Modernization program manager, "We are well on the way to updating a majority of the flood hazard maps for our most populated regions. We look forward to continuing our work with PBS&J to deliver more reliable, accurate, and readily available flood maps that can be digitally integrated into our state, regional, and community disaster mitigation plans."

As part of this effort, PBS&J engineers, certified floodplain managers (CFM) and geographic information system (GIS) professionals will rely on the PBS&J-developed Flood Map Desktop(tm) (FMD), an extension for ESRI's ArcGIS desktop software, to complete the Montana Map Modernization projects. PBS&J will complete all phases of floodplain mapping, including planning, scoping, outreach, field reconnaissance, hydrology, hydraulics, floodplain mapping, preliminary DFIRM production, and post-preliminary DFIRM processing for all communities in the designated counties.

Tom Schweitzer, PBS&J vice president, says, "This latest contract represents a continuation of PBS&J's commitment to support the Montana DNRC map modernization program as well as the nationwide FEMA-sponsored program. With tools like our FMD map modernization software and CFM resources, we can help public and private entities leverage critical floodplain data to support public safety and community planning initiatives."

For the Montana DNRC, this effort is a critical part of its mission to preserve land and resources for present and future generations of all 57 counties. The agency is a State Cooperating Technical Partner of FEMA's National Map Modernization Program as well as a number of other organizations in managing flood hazards throughout the state. Currently, there are 134 counties and municipalities identified by FEMA with flood hazards and of those, 126 participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. Montana's Map Modernization Program has focused federal funding on mapping those areas with the heaviest population and likeliest flood hazards.

By the end of this third contract, PBS&J will have mapped flood hazards in six counties throughout Montana. These six counties support approximately 50 percent of Montana's total population of 950,000.

The converted DFIRM maps are available for viewing and download at a PBS&J designed and hosted Montana Map Modernization website, http://www.montanadfirm.com.

PBS&J (www.pbsj.com) is an employee-owned firm that provides infrastructure planning, engineering, construction management, architecture, and program management services to public and private clients. The firm is ranked by Engineering News-Record as 22nd among the nation's top consulting firms. PBS&J has 3,900 employees and more than 75 offices located throughout the United States and abroad.

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