Trends Summer 2017 | Page 9

provides an idea of the variety of funding available and how working with Ayres from Day 1 can help make the most of available grants and loans. MAP IT! The goal of the U.S. Geological Survey’s 3D Elevation program is to help local governments fund light detection and ranging data acquisition to help complete a high-definition topographic model for the entire lower 48 states. Taylor County in north-central Wisconsin provides an example of how to stretch funding from such a program to receive maximum benefit. Ayres worked with the state Department of Administration to develop a group application for Taylor and four other Wisconsin counties, writing the technical approach, providing project budgets, and determining timelines for the projects. “Grouping the counties made the grant writing more efficient, improved everyone’s chances of winning the grant, standardized specifications and datasets for all participating counties, and reduced aircraft mobilization fees,” said Zach Nienow, Ayres’ Geospatial Services project manager. “Economy of scale helped reduce project costs due to the large overall project area.” Taylor County’s $136,400 grant represented half of the County’s total fees for the base project. The County used its Wisconsin Land Information Program grant funds and a U.S. Forest Service partnership to help cover the remaining cost. Ayres acquired the data in spring 2016 and then processed the data to meet or exceed applicable U.S. Geological Survey Quality Level 2 standards. The County has already made good use of the resulting mapping, according to Bob Meyer, Taylor County surveyor. “We had no accurate contour information for the County,” Meyer said. “Now, towns are using this information when they consider bridge and culvert replacements. Zoning uses it to look at where water stands in flatter areas and how that may affect where homes could be built. Once you have it, you find uses for the information that you never imagined. We’ve been relying on aerial photos, but having the contours is really useful.” BEFORE Meyer hopes the new elevation information will enable the Federal Emergency Management Agency to update the County’s floodplain mapping. In all, Ayres helped 11 Wisconsin counties secure more than $1.47 million in grants through this program to help cover the cost of LiDAR data acquisition and processing. IMPROVE IT! The Town of Ellsworth in Pierce County, Wisconsin, faces the same concern as most governmental entities: not enough funds for all projects residents would like to see completed. Town Chairman Roger Billeter appreciates Ayres’ help in securing transportation grants to improve two important roadways, 670th and 710th Streets, near the Village of Ellsworth. “It’s been tremendous,” he said. “Costs are rising for everything. The grants enabled us to get the roads better and safer. We probably would not have had enough money at the time to do the work on 670th.” AFTER Town of Ellsworth, Wisconsin, 670th Street And the work had to be done: 670th carries traffic from East Ellsworth – the site of one of the area’s largest employers, a creamery – to a main highway out of town. It allows │9