Hudspeth County

Fort Hancock Community Flood Knowledge Collection Project

Fort Hancock is a community in Hudspeth County that experiences unique challenges due to frequent flash flooding and non-traditional/unregulated housing and community berm construction. Roads and bridges washing out are a particular danger and concern to the county.

The County Judge, County Commissioner, and Emergency Management Coordinator are all interested in addressing flooding issues in this community, but there are no good traditional flood data sources available to accurately map, model, and communicate the current risks to the community. Fort Hancock does not show up in traditional risk analyses anywhere as being at risk for flooding, but they are flooding almost every year from smaller, flash-flood events.

The DRIP team and county leaders decided on this unique pilot project designed specifically to address the “data desert” found in small, underserved communities like Fort Hancock. This project will develop a process to collect community-held knowledge (such as photos; verbal descriptions of water lines and dates of major storms leading to flooding; and verbal identification of areas/locations prone to flooding, etc.) to inform future mapping and modeling products. The main product will be a systematic collection of data focused on documenting and describing flooding in this flash-flood vulnerable community. Supplementary products to display the information such as a “hot spot” map or other visualizations will also be considered as time and resources allow.

The project will include the following components:

  • Community data collection

to gather evidence of flooding to support grant/funding applications and policy/planning decision making. This will be a door-to-door data collection effort using trained community members to build community-driven flood hazard maps.

  • Collection of aerial images
of the community via drone to better map and understand land use/land cover (LULC) and existing/unofficial/modified local drainage.
  • Exploration of simple tools to display
the information (such as a “heat map” of flooding hotspots reported by the community).
  • Recommendations for future use
of the collected data for improved modeling or other risk visualization techniques for the community.

Hudspeth County Data Collection Team:  Keri , Juvencia, Josh, Bryan, Willy, and Samanta

Hudspeth Judge

DRIP team meets with Hudspeth County to share flood maps.

Pictured left to right: Nick Diaz, TAMU; Yifan Xu, UT; Dr. Keri Stephens, UT; Joanna MacKenzie, Hudspeth County Judge; Monty Dozier, TAMU AgriLife; and Jamil Moutran, Emergency Management Coordinator, Hudspeth County.


DRIP team meeting in Fort Hancock to discuss flooding.

Pictured left to right: Sergio Quijas, Commissioner, District 2 Hudspeth County; Dr. Keri Stephens, UT; and Dr. Andrew Juan, TAMU.

The project timeline will involve the following phases:

Training phase

May – June 2023

Training local community members to collect and upload data

Data collection phase

June-September 2023

Georeferencing the images collected and creating a simple visualization of the data in the form of a community floodplain map

Data analysis & visualization phase

September – October 2023

Conducted during both the monsoon season and non-monsoon season and including drone flights in August

Period of review, ground-truthing, and finalization

October-December 2023

Obtaining feedback from the community and finalizing the map, as well as making all of the data available to the community and providing recommendations for future use of the data.

If you have questions about this project, please contact:

Dr. Keri Stephens

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