A redrawing the boundaries of the Little Thornapple River Drain is in progress. Previously drawn along property lines, the drain’s lines will now be based on topography using the latest in technology.
Paul Forton, project manager for the Spicer Group, reported on the project to the Little Thornapple River Intercounty Drain Board last week.
The new technology, LiDAR or Light Detection and Ranging, uses pulsed laser light to measure distances to the earth.
The difference in return times and wavelengths of the laser are used to make digital 3-D pictures of the targets. Airplanes with LiDAR fly over an area and gather information that is backed up by field work, Forton said.
The state has completed its work with LiDAR. With the final data, architects will be in the field from now until late spring verifying the lines, working around the firearm deer season. Most of their work can be done from their cars.
The LiDAR method delivers more accurate drain district lines than what officials believe was last done on the Little Thornapple River Drain in the 1930’s, Forton said.
“Now, with excellent, accurate data, we can make sure there no overlap or gaps…amazingly enough, they are not perfect, but the old figures are first class.”
The folks identified as in the newly defined drain district will be assessed for drain work, which will change the status for some, he said. They will also run into places where part of a property will be assessed and other parts of the property may not be in the drain district and will not be assessed.
“We’ll have the latest data and contour information and property information…at the end of the day, it will be accurate and correct.”
In April or May of 2019, there will be a public hearing for the public to inspect the maps; everyone affected will be notified by letter, so they will know when the meeting will be held.
Kent County Drain Commissioner Ken Yonker said the process is not unusual, it’s happening all across the state. “When they come across it, they do it as it comes up.”