Recent Flooding on the Bad River Reservation

Flooded House

The reservation experienced severe flooding Monday, July 11, 2016, through Thursday, July 14, 2016, as a result of a series of thunderstorms. The Bad River broke records with a rise of 27.28 feet. Just a week later, on July 21, another line of thunderstorms moved through the area toppling trees and downing power lines. Flooding has caused the destruction of roads, bridges, community facilities, trails and recreation areas.Bad River

More than 46 homes within reservation boundaries have been affected by flooding, ten of which have been totally destroyed. The flooding cut off the reservation from regular routes to food, water, and medical supplies. As of July 25, damage estimates stand at $1,104,000. The Tribe is continuing to work cooperatively with other agencies to further assess damages. Governor Scott Walker will determine if the state will request a federal disaster declaration.

Response to Flooding on the Bad River Reservation

Response to the recent flooding and power outages was swift and thorough. Many community members and volunteers donated time and resources. A command center was set up in the Casino. Information was made available via a link on the Tribal website, email postings, and a ‘Bad River Flood Command Center’ Facebook page. Maps of road closures and conditions were continually updated and made available. Meals were provided at the Bad River Community Center for flood victims and community members. Bad River Social & Family Services received donations of food, water, and cleaning supplies from across Indian Country, and other communities. These are just a few of the many ways people responded to assist with the flood and subsequent power outage.


A floodplain is the land adjoining a river, stream, lake, or other water course or water body that is susceptible to flooding. The last floodplain analysis on the Reservation was done in 1985, covering the area around Odanah. An updated and more comprehensive floodplain analysis would be helpful in mitigation planning. Modern floodplain mapping is done using LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology. LIDAR collects elevation data quickly, and accurately. For more information on LIDAR, contact Suzi Smith, Bad River Natural Resources Dept. GIS Specialist