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Monroe CCTF prepares to be safer in future floods
CCTF_Roxie speaks
ROXIE ANDERSON, Monroe County Land Use Planner, discusses various options for stream monitoring, and flood sensor locations proposed by the Iowa Flood Center.

MONROE COUNTY - The Kickapoo Valley Association (KVA) has created a brochure and set up a donation account to allow businesses and citizens to donate toward the purchase of flood monitoring equipment for the Kickapoo River Valley. The funds will be disbursed to counties who have set up a dedicated, earmarked account to receive such donations, according to Kickapoo Valley Reserve Executive Director Marcy West. West also sits on the KVA Board.

KVA Brochure_P1
KVA Brochure_P2

In September of 2019, the Monroe County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to form the county’s climate change task force. The task force has adopted ten goals, the first of which is to put in place flood monitoring equipment that will help keep people and property safe in flooding situations.

While the county board supervisors on the task force have expressed that they believe that the county board is prepared to help fund the purchase of the equipment, more funds are needed. County employees are prohibited from soliciting donations, but the county can set up a dedicated account to receive donations that are offered. To this end, the Monroe County Board created such a fund at their May 20 meeting.

The donation brochure can be downloaded from the Monroe County Land Conservation’s website at
Flood Monitoring Price Quotes

New ideas

Since the last meeting in March, Monroe County Land Use Planner Roxie Anderson has continued to investigate and price different flood monitoring equipment options. One thing Anderson reports she has learned is that relying on wifi for data transmission is not as reliable using cellular technology, radio antennae or satellites.

“The Iowa Flood Center is upgrading their devices to 3G/4G,” Anderson told the task force. “Our understanding is that radio is more vulnerable in storms, with satellite in the middle, and cellular the most reliable.”

Anderson and County Conservationist Bob Micheel have been looking into systems used in Trempealeau County and on Pine Island in Minnesota. As a result of these investigations, Anderson shared information on three different systems that would likely better fit the needs in the Kickapoo River and Little LaCrosse River Watersheds than the wifi systems she had reported on previously.
Intellisense Monitor

Intellisense – AWARE:this flood sensor works off the Verizon cellular network using iridum satellite, with between 10-30 minute data transmission. The data will be served in a data dashboard and has alert notification capability. They stations are solar powered, with rain gauge and water level sensors, a camera with 640x480 resolution (optional) and soil moisture sensors (optional). The units cost $4,095 each.


EnviroMonitor:this instrument is produced by Davis Instruments, uses the Verizon cellular network, and transmits data in 5, 15 or 60 minute intervals. The data is served on a data dashboard, a mobile application, and has alert notification capability. The unit is solar powered, with rain gauge and water level sensors, an optional soil moisture sensor, and is compatible with third-party sensors. The units cost $2,745 each.

High Sierra Monitor

High Sierra:the High Sierra system works off a cellular network and is Verizon compatible. It transmits data in 5, 15 or 60 minute intervals, and has radio antennae or GOES Satellite compatibility. The system is served via software, with third-party services and alert notification capability. It is a solar powered station, with rain gauge and water level sensors, and option camera sensor, road-side warning system, and compatible with third-party sensors. This is the unit used by both Trempealeau County and Pine Island. The units cost $5,656 each.

Watershed goals

Anderson’s presentation to the task force listed five goals for the two watersheds the task force has identified as their first focus:

• weather monitoring station in Cashton for the Little LaCrosse River and Coon Creek Watersheds

• several stream monitoring stations per watershed

• camera stations at the Norwalk Dam in the Kickapoo River Watershed, and in the Town of Leon in the Little LaCrosse Watershed

• USGS Gauge Station on the Little LaCrosse River

• optional sensors to be added to stations depending on funding: soil moisture and groundwater sensors

Grant received

Anderson told the task force that Monroe County had received a $7,800 grant from the Fishers & Farmers Partnership to purchase flood monitoring equipment for the Little LaCrosse River watershed. She said that those funds will become available this summer, and that the Land Conservation Department hopes to have monitoring stations in place in the watershed yet this season. The grant funds will help to purchase three monitoring stations.

Next meeting

The next meeting of the Monroe County Climate Change Task Force will take place on Wednesday, July 1, from 2:30-4:30 p.m.

Citizen meetings

Two citizen input meetings have been or will soon be scheduled to gather input about flood monitoring in two Monroe County watersheds. The meetings will be an opportunity for watershed residents to learn more about the work of the Monroe County Climate Change Task Force (CCTF), and to offer input on the flood monitoring initiative.

A meeting for the Upper Kickapoo River will take place in Wilton on Tuesday, July 21, 7 p.m., at the Wilton Community Hall, 400 East Street, Wilton, WI 54670. 

Presentations will be made as follows:

• Kickapoo River flooding – what can we do? Ron Luethe and Tim Welch

• CCTF update – Tina Osterberg and Bob Micheel

• Flood Monitoring – Roxie Anderson

A meeting for the Little LaCrosse River watershed will take place in Leon at a date to be determined when the COVID-19 situation permits.

Presentations will be made as follows:

• Little LaCrosse River flooding – what can we do? Sharon Folcey and Jen Schmitz

• CCTF update – Tina Osterberg and Bob Micheel

• Flood Monitoring – Roxie Anderson