The four Lake Superior coastal counties in northwest Wisconsin experienced historic flood events in 2012 and 2016, with severe storms dumping as much as 14 inches of rainfall on the landscape, causing catastrophic, widespread flooding. A heavy rainfall event in mid- June of 2018 once again set the stage for severe flooding in the region, resulting in the third presidential disaster declaration in six years (DR-4076, DR-4275 & DR-4384.)
One of the most significant challenges facing northwest Wisconsin is flood adaption. In order to facilitate planning to develop flood-resilient infrastructure, communities need to fully understand the condition and vulnerability of existing water-conveyance infrastructure. The primary focus of this project was to conduct an inventory and evaluation of flood-vulnerable road-stream crossings within the counties of Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland and Iron in northwest Wisconsin and applying a quantitative assessment protocol to define risk.