Above, left to right are Tim Cowman and Mark Rath state DENR employees honored by the South Dakota Emergency Management Association (SDMEA) for their work on the Big Sioux River. Jason Bauder of SDEMA presented the award.

The South Dakota Emergency Management Association (SDEMA) presented Tim Cowman and Mark Rath from the state Department of the Environment and Natural Resource (DENR) SDEMA’s Preparedness, Technology and Innovation Award at SDEMA’s Conference in Pierre, September 11.

During the past few years Tim and Mark worked collaboratively to bring the Big Sioux Flood Information System to life.

The award nomination from Jason Bauder of South Dakota Office of Emergency Management explained the system is an interactive map for state and local agencies and the public to see firsthand the effects of various levels of flooding on the Big Sioux River, which is known to cause issues for citizens from Watertown all the way to Dakota Dunes.

The nomination stated they took part in countless meetings with the contractor to bring the concept to reality to help emergency managers predict levels of flooding and impact to citizens along the river.

This spring the system was truly tested with a real world event of heavy rains, heavy snowpack and subsequent flooding.

Cowman and Rath worked closely with the contractor in the State EOC to ensure the data was accurate. Their collaborative effort proved the system is very accurate and can be counted on for future flood events.

Cowman and Rath have a passion for helping others and especially emergency managers during these events. In the spirit of the award, Cowman and Rath are true innovators in technology and this has helped us all to be able to see the effects of flooding and the impacts to citizens, so everyone can prepare for anticipated flooding. Their work has made our work easier what in comes to flooding on the Big Sioux River.

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