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IC 36-9-27.4 regulates the process of filing a petition, conducting an investigation, holding a public hearing, and ordering the removal of an obstruction of a private drain or natural surface watercourse. The Vanderburgh County Surveyor provides forms and documents related to the process. For more information, please call our office at 812-435-5210.

Duties of the Vanderburgh County Surveyor

According to Indiana Code, the County Surveyor performs the following duties: 

1. County Drainage Board
. The County Surveyor is an ex-officio and a non-voting member of the County Drainage Board, and is the technical authority on the construction, reconstruction, and maintenance of all regulated drains or proposed regulated drains in the county. 

Regulated drains are large, open ditches or piped storm water conveyances serving sizeable tributary areas of agricultural, residential, commercial, and industrial land. Vanderburgh County maintains about 80 miles of regulated drain with about 20 miles of urban drains located within the corporate limits of Evansville. 

The County Surveyor prepares an annual report on the condition of the individual drains, and the regular maintenance and special repair work required to keep the drains in working order. The County Surveyor then prepares specifications, seeks public bids, and supervises the contractual work that constructs, reconstructs, repairs, and maintains the county’s system of drains. 

The County Surveyor’s statutory duties and powers with regard to the county’s drainage board and regulated drains are more specifically described at IC 36-9-27.

The County Surveyor also serves as a Technical Advisor to the County Drainage Board with respect to the Vanderburgh County Drainage Code 13.04. All applications for approval of drainage plans that come before the Vanderburgh County Drainage Board are reviewed by the Surveyor's Office.

The Vanderburgh County Drainage Board is comprised of the three county commissioners. For information regarding the county commissioners, contact their staff at 812-435-5241. 

The Vanderburgh County Drainage Board meets immediately following the Vanderburgh County Commissioners' meeting. The County Surveyor publishes the board’s agenda, and the County Auditor publishes verbatim minutes of the board’s meetings, which can be found here.

2. Section Corner Perpetuation
. In 1806, land surveyors working for the U.S. Congress marked out the one square mile sections comprising what would become Vanderburgh County, Indiana. The County Surveyor must keep and maintain a corner record book showing original government section corners set for each of the Congressional sections. The Surveyor must check, locate, establish, and reference at least 5% of all original corners shown in the Corner Record Book each year. 

In 2001, the Vanderburgh County Surveyor initiated a program to locate each of the 992 Congressional section corners using highly accurate Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) equipment. By July 2004, the County Surveyor had located and referenced over 850 of the original corners, and recorded their exact horizontal and vertical locations by Indiana State Plane coordinates and sea level elevation. Work will continue until all points are discovered or relocated. 

The locations and other data relevant to the county’s section corners are available as interactive grid points overlaid on aerial photographs and topographic mapping at a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Website The data is maintained by the Special Deputy County Surveyor, Douglas J. McDonald, P.E., L.S. 

3. Investigations of Alleged Drainage Obstructions. When a property owner petitions the County Drainage Board to remove an obstruction from a private drain or natural surface watercourse, the County Surveyor must immediately investigate the alleged obstruction and file a report with the board. The Drainage Board must then hold a public hearing, listen to testimony from the affected parties, consider the County Surveyor’s report, and issue an order to remove the obstruction if the removal will facilitate better drainage of the petitioner’s land and meets all other statutory requirements.

4. Area Plan Commission. The County Surveyor is, per Indiana Code 36-7-4, a member of the Area Plan Commission. As a member of the Commission, the County Surveyor attends the monthly planning commission meeting, and hears and makes decisions on rezoning petitions, subdivision plats, land development, and other planning issues. The County Surveyor also participates in the weekly technical review and approval of commercial and apartment site development plans, new development drainage plans, and storm water pollution prevention plans for construction sites.

5. Plats, Maps, and Record Management. The County Surveyor maintains a large volume of original subdivision plats, reproduces and distributes copies of the plats, and restores the damaged originals when necessary. The County Surveyor also produces an official county road map and cross-reference guide, individual township maps, voting precinct maps, maps of the urbanized area, census tracts, and other geographic and political data. 

The County Surveyor also reviews, records, and manages subdivision drainage plans, commercial site development plans (outside the city limits of Evansville), and other plans and data related to land development and storm water management. Copies of plats, maps, plans, and other documents are available from the County Surveyor's Office. 

6. Legal Survey Record Book. The County Surveyor maintains a legal survey record book for all legal surveys within the county. Often a judge orders a legal survey conducted by a registered land surveyor with notice to all adjoining landowners to resolve property disputes. The land surveyor then prepares a plat of the survey for recording in the County Surveyor’s legal survey record book available for viewing in the Surveyor’s records vault. The index for the legal survey books can be found here.

7. Annexation Descriptions. The County Surveyor maintains annexation descriptions and dis-annexation descriptions for the City of Evansville and the Town of Darmstadt. These official legal descriptions are then certified for the State Election Board who uses them to determine voting district lines. 

8. Certification to ABC. Before the Indiana Alcoholic Beverage Commission issues a new Alcoholic Beverage Permit in an unincorporated area, the County Surveyor must certify that the permit location is within or in close proximity to a settlement known by a specific place name for ten years or longer, and to which folks from surrounding areas rely on for making retail purchases, holding public meetings, or as a community or neighborhood center. 

9. Additional Duties and Services. In addition to statutory duties, the County Surveyor performs other customary services in association with other government boards and agencies. 

The Vanderburgh County Surveyor's Office wrote the county’s 1994 Storm Water Drainage Ordinance, and maintains updates to the Drainage Ordinance. The Vanderburgh County Code concerning drainage can be accessed here.

The County Surveyor’s Office receives and reviews drainage complaints and inquiries within Vanderburgh County from the public, and provides assistance and/or advice, or refers public complaints and inquiries to the appropriate municipal agency for follow-up action.