AURORA, COLO. —Merrick & Company is providing light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data collection and data processing services for 7,766 square miles of five watersheds located in Oklahoma. The work is being done under a contract with AMEC Earth & Environmental, who is the prime consultant, for the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS).

This project is part of a five-year engineering and geospatial service indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for the watershed rehabilitation program that includes dam safety assessment, design, design review, flood inundation, and construction management. The data will be used by the USDA-NRCS for use in dam assessment and hydrologic and hydraulic models.

The LiDAR is being collected up until Feb. 28, 2010, over a snow-free terrain. The collected LiDAR data will be filtered to remove 95 percent or more of the vegetation, buildings, artifacts, man-made features, and noise. Deliverables will include classified LAS files and ESRI Digital Elevation Models (DEMs).

The Watershed Rehabilitation Program covers more than 11,000 dams, many of which are nearing the end of their 50-year design life. Rehabilitation of the dams is needed to address critical public health and safety issues in these communities.

The watershed dams are part of the country’s aging infrastructure that includes highways, bridges, and storm sewers. Local watershed projects represent a $15 billion investment in the national infrastructure. Local projects are federally assisted, not federally owned projects. Local sponsors own the dams and are responsible for their operation and maintenance.

Some of the work in the Watershed Rehabilitation Program is being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.