Summer 2009

The Newsletter of the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium

Table of Contents

MN GIS/LIS Consortium

From the Chair
Conference Update
Scholarship Winners
Lifetime/Polaris Nominations

Drive to Excellence Update
Emerald Ash Borer Tracking
New Catchment Boundaries
M3D Update
MN Broadband Maps

Governor's Council
CTU/USNG Standards
Red River Flood GIS
RNC Presentation
Commendation Nominations

Natural Resources Atlas

Red River Flood - Moorhead
Ag Emergency Plan - Steele Co.
Crime Maps & GeoMoose
Laurentian Collaborative
Ramsey Co GIS Group


Higher Education
GISSO Job Fair
Reclaim Lost Land

Other Places
ND GIS Conference
Sticky/Magnetic States



Steele County participates in Agricultural Emergency Response Plan development
By Dave Wavrin, Steele County
In conjunction with numerous state and local agencies, Steele County is actively pursuing the development of an emergency response plan directed at the agricultural community in the county. The plan is to integrate agriculture into a county-level emergency response plan. By its nature, GIS will play a pivotal role in developing and implementing the plan.
This project was fueled by agricultural awareness workshops conducted in early 2008 by Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with the University of Minnesota Extension Service. In response, Steele County formed its own county-level group made up of county offices including Emergency Management, Planning & Zoning, Feedlot Officer, Environmental Service and GIS. Other agencies involved and invited to participate included FSA, NRCS, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota Animal Board of Health and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
The goal of initial meetings was to focus on what we were trying to achieve in bringing these groups together. It soon became apparent that a plan, based on the National Incident Management System, needed to be developed specific to an agriculturally based emergency. Since large feedlot operations have become more prevalent in rural counties, catastrophic incidents such animal diseases, tornado hits and fire could potentially have a greater agricultural impact and require rapid and multi-jurisdictional response.
So, how does GIS fit into this equation? In the event of an incident, it was made clear the GIS will play an integral part in implementing this plan. Mapping the incident and providing timely data such as property ownership, road information for quarantines and soils information for animal disposal (see map inset) are just a few examples of how GIS will be essential to the decision-making process if such an incident was to occur. In Steele County, we maintain a database of all registered feedlots in the county that can be associated to a feedlot point shapefile and further joined to the parcel geodatabase and related county tax system data.
We are still in the process of plan formulation. Once completed, our Agricultural Emergency Response Plan could act as a template for all other counties in the state to use in developing their own emergency response plan. No doubt, GIS will play a major role in any plan and may act as a catalyst for initiating a GIS program in those counties that have not already come on board.
For more information, please contact Dave Wavrin at or 507-444-7489, or visit the following sites: