Communities: Know the Risk

What's Next on the Path?

  • Discovery

The Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC) is investigating the Bayou Bartholomew Watershed (HUC 08040205) to review the current flood risk and identify potential long-term risk reduction projects that local communities are interested in pursuing.  This project is being performed under a Cooperating Technical Partner (CTP) agreement between the ANRC and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The Bayou Bartholomew Watershed (HUC 08040205) encompasses an area of approximately 1,534 square miles and extends across two states (Arkansas and Louisiana) and seven counties/parishes (Ashley, Chicot, Cleveland, Desha, Drew, Jefferson, and Lincoln Counties in Arkansas and Morehouse Parish in Louisiana) in the southeast portion of Arkansas and northeast portion of Louisiana. The major community in the watershed is a portion of Pine Bluff. Smaller communities include Hamburg and Star City, and a portion of Dermott, Monticello, Parkdale, Portland, Tillar, White Hall, Wilmot, and Winchester. As this watershed extends across two states and the populated land area is located in Arkansas, a single Discovery project has been planned with the ANRC taking the lead. Due to the rural nature of the land area in Louisiana, limited information has been provided for that extent of the project area.

The Bayou Bartholomew Watershed was selected by the Arkansas Natural Resource Commission (ANRC), the State’s CTP with FEMA Region 6, for the reasons summarized below.

  1. Topographic data developed from a Light Detection and Ranging System (LiDAR) is available throughout the watershed aiding in providing quality data.

  2. Losses in Chicot, Desha, and Jefferson counties have exceeded $7.8 million from 1978 through 2015, and there are over 1,100 policies. These reported values include entire counties which may or may not be wholly located in the watershed.

  3. Five of the seven counties in the Arkansas portion of the watershed have Hazard Mitigation Plans in progress: Ashley, Chicot, Cleveland, Jefferson, and Lincoln. The Hazard Mitigation Plans for Desha and Drew Counties have expired.

  4. The communities of Desha County, Monticello, and Pine Bluff have multiple claims listed as BCX Claims, which are claims that occur outside the mapped floodplain. This indicates the need for additional review to determine if the effective maps are in need of update.

  5. The Bayou Bartholomew Alliance is a non-profit organization that was designed to help protect and preserve Bayou Bartholomew and its tributaries. Additionally, they perform outreach in the watershed and aid in some overall improvement projects. Any large scale projects in the watershed could lead to a local teaming opportunity.

In May 2016, ANRC, as the State CTP, will hold Discovery Meetings in this watershed. During Discovery, ANRC and FEMA will reach out to local communities to: 

  • Gather information about local flood risk and flood hazards;
  • Obtain and ultimately review current and historic mitigation plans to understand local mitigation capabilities, hazard risk assessments and current or future mitigation activities; and
  • Include multi-disciplinary staff within each community to develop a watershed vision.

For more helpful information, look under Resources and Related Links.

For mapping questions, contact the FEMA Mapping Information eXchange (FMIX) – 1-877-336-2627.