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Developing a flood susceptibility index to amend the 2021 KIPDA Hazard Mitigation Plan

Louisville, Kentucky

Featured image for the project, Developing a flood susceptibility index to amend the 2021 KIPDA Hazard Mitigation Plan

Image courtesy of Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency


The Greater Louisville Region is heavily impacted by flooding and has inconsistent planning in place to mitigate these risks. This project will look to update the regional Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) with a Flood Susceptibility Index (FSI) informed by scientific data collected and interpreted by a Geospatial Analyst/Data Scientist.

The FSI will go beyond traditional floodplain mapping to analyze the distribution of reported flood locations and a variety of flood-related factors, such as the topographic wetness index and combined sewer service areas. The FSI will provide a more holistic look at flood risk in the Greater Louisville Region and will be a useful tool for making  decisions about future hazard mitigation projects and flood policies across the region.

The Community and the Challenge

The focus of this data collection and interpretation project will be on the Greater Louisville Region, which includes Jefferson County and eight other counties. This region is a combination of urban and rural communities with a population of roughly 1.2 million and spans both Kentucky and Indiana. There is a challenging combination of hazard preparedness levels between the counties in the region and this project aims to bring cohesiveness to the hazard mitigation project planning for these counties with the addition of a FSI to the HMP.


Timeline and Milestones  

  • Project Duration – 9 months
  • Project Start – February 2021
  • Project Completion – October 2021
  • Milestones
    • 03/26/21 – Final Project Plan
    • 04/23/21 – KIPDA Team and TEE Fellow review final project plan
    • 04/23/21 – Begin Community Scientist Match
    • 05/28/21 – Select Community Scientist
    • 05/31/21 – Begin data collection and plan data generation if needed
    • 07/30/21 – Data collection/generation complete
    • 08/02/21 – Begin production of Flood Susceptibility Index (FSI)
    • 08/27/21 – FSI complete
    • 09/03/21 – Begin integration of FSI into Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP)
    • 09/24/21 – Final touches
    • 10/01/21 – Project complete

Project Team

Community Leaders – Kentuckiana Regional Planning & Development Agency (KIPDA)

Olivia Ranseen – Olivia serves as the Community Development Planner at KIPDA. In her role, Olivia primarily leads natural disaster and resiliency planning for a six-county region. She also creates data visualization tools, oversees conservation grants, and handles water and wastewater projects. Olivia majored in environmental management and graduated from the Indiana University’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs in May 2019. In her free time, Olivia enjoys rock climbing, reading, and running with her dog, Nemo.

Danielle Story – Danielle serves as the Director of Community and Economic Development at KIPDA. Her work primarily includes managing a team of four planners, administering multi-million-dollar infrastructure and community development projects, assisting local officials from seven counties, and overseeing federal grant applications and regional plans. She received her Master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Louisville in 2017 and has been with KIPDA ever since. In her “past life,” she owned a massage practice in Eastern Kentucky, but, at the age of 30, decided to give it up and pursue urban planning after taking courses in the social sciences. She hasn’t looked back since and actively pushes for greater resilience and equity in KIPDA’s communities.

Hayden Kandul – Hayden is a Community and Economic Development Specialist with KIPDA. She was born in Marietta, Georgia, but has lived most of her life in Louisville, Kentucky. Hayden attended college at Western Kentucky University, where she double-majored in environmental sciences and Arabic and attained a Bachelor’s degree in geography. After graduation, she took part in an Intensive Arabic Language program at the University of Jordan and participated in a sustainability internship at the UNICEF Middle East Children’s Institute in Amman, Jordan. Upon returning from overseas, she relocated to Colorado where she volunteered for the non-profit Mothers Out Front and helped organize functions for mothers and families demanding climate justice in their communities. Seeing the dedication and hard work that the women at Mothers Out Front put into rallying the community and demanding action from representatives ignited her passions of community outreach and public service. This led to her current position as at KIPDA in her hometown of Louisville, where she has been for the last two years. Hayden now works to assist local governments with development goals in their communities, leading projects such as the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (, writing grants, updating ordinances and Comprehensive Land Use Plans, website development, social media, and more.


Community Science Fellow

Shane Monotya – Shane is the Director of Exhibits and Facilities at Explora Science Center and Children’s Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is a lifelong New Mexico resident having been born and raised in Albuquerque. He attended college at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces where he attained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. An intense interest in the intersection of science and art led him to a position as an Exhibit Developer at Explora. He worked in this role for eight years and was able to learn an exceptional amount about the operations involved in running a science center while being able to develop dozens of unique hands-on science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) exhibits for Explora and museums around the country. An urge to expand on the positive community impact of his work led Shane to look for ways to contribute beyond exhibit development and through leadership opportunities. For the past six years Shane has been the Director of Exhibits and Operations at Explora with a three-year stint as the Director of Visitor Services mixed in. He is currently focusing his efforts on supporting and contributing to the development of Explora’s Cradle Through Career STEAM Learning Campus. This initiative will produce X-Studio, a teen workforce development center, and Brillante, an early child learning center and preschool. Both initiatives will work in unison with Explora to create pathways for young New Mexico learners in underserved communities to make their way to well-paying jobs in the STEM fields as thoroughly prepared young adults.


Community Scientist

This section to be filled upon matching a scientist to the project 

Collaborating Organization(s)

Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency (KIPDA): Based out of Louisville,  KIPDA helps oversee environmental and community planning, economic development initiatives, transportation projects, and social services for the greater Louisville region, which includes seven counties in Kentucky and two counties in Indiana. It serves as the region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization, Area Development District, Economic Development District, and Area Agency on Aging and Independent Living.


Indiana Sustainability Development Program: The Indiana Sustainability Development Program (ISDP) program partners with Indiana-based private, public, and nonprofit organizations to host summer Climate Fellows throughout the Hoosier state to provide solutions-based sustainability expertise. Climate Fellows gain valuable experience working full-time in a professional setting, partners receive assistance in sustainability and climate planning from talented students and the ISDP resource network, and Indiana benefits from this critical sustainability work.


Explora: Explora, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a unique place that puts people’s learning in their own hands. From the very beginning, Explora has been a collaboration of great visions. It began around 1983 with two individual groups that, with no knowledge of each other’s existence, had similar ideas: the first group envisioned a “children’s exploratorium,” while the second had the idea of a “science and technology exploratorium.” Since the merging of the two ideas in 1995, Explora has been—and will continue to be—a learning place for people of all races, ages, genders, abilities, and backgrounds. We believe that family, caregivers, peers, and colleagues are essential partners in learning. Explora advocates for lifelong, materials-rich inquiry, while acknowledging that it isn’t always easy. We value curiosity, hands-on trial and error, and the agency and growth that comes with both failing and succeeding.