Providing Award-Winning Flood Information System

2016 - 2018
Eastern South Dakota
South Dakota Department of Environment & Natural Resources

When we provided the state of South Dakota with the Big Sioux River Flood Information System (BSRFIS), we did what we always do: Focus on the client’s needs, the community’s improvement, and the residents’ safety. 

In 2014, a flood revealed shortcomings in data and modeling, which prevented state and local authorities from responding appropriately. The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources (SD DENR) realized that they needed a predictive model and comprehensive flood-mapping system. 

RESPEC led the team that created the BSRFIS. We designed it to observe and forecast meteorological data fed into a basin-wide hydrologic model. When flood events are predicted, the output supplements National Weather Service, River Forecast Center data. The BSRFIS provides real-time flood information that is accessible by decision-makers, emergency management, weather services, and the public. 

The BSRFIS is a one-stop web platform with interactive stream conditions, flood forecasts, visualizations, inundation maps, and flood-related data and information—all available at The 8,600 inundation maps represent realistic flood scenarios for five communities, including point-by-point maximum flood depths and water-surface elevations. These flood scenarios allow South Dakota to respond in real-time or plan ahead for flood events. Since operations began in 2018, the BSRFIS has kept citizen safety at the forefront. 

South Dakota State Geologist and SD DENR Project Manager Tim Cowman said, “This project has produced an essential tool for responding to flood events in the Big Sioux River Basin.” South Dakota can now respond to flood events and help residents to understand what is happening in their own backyards. 

RESPEC is honored to have provided these life-saving solutions. We will continue to offer our clients solutions that surpass their needs, incorporate innovation, and prioritize safety and longevity.