Old Mill flood mitigation moves to reclamation phase
Reclamation activities on former residential properties in Old Mill Subdivision have begun and are expected to be completed by Aug. 1 Kenai Peninsula Borough Land Management Officer Marcus Mueller has announced. “Folks in the Seward area will be seeing contractors work to remove several homes from properties that have historically encountered repeated flood damage along Lost Creek in Old Mill Subdivision,” according to Mueller.
The borough’s Capital Projects Division will oversee a contract with A&A Enterprises, Inc. of Anchorage to remove four homes along with associated outbuildings and septic systems purchased from willing homeowners with federal assistance. The contractor will restore each site back to the land’s original condition, allowing future floodwaters room to flow and limiting future risks to personal property and life safety. This project is designed to recognize ongoing concerns of flood damage to private property and public infrastructure. Property owners upstream and downstream of this project should benefit from the added relief given to the sometimes intense flow dynamics of the Lost Creek system. However, this project is not a cure to flooding. Property owners must remain vigilant to the risks of flooding in the highly unpredictable alluvial landscape that covers much of the Seward area.
In all, five residential properties were purchased along Lost Creek using a combination of federal, state, borough and flood service area funding. The project was structured under the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program. The State of Alaska Division of Homeland Security also assisted with matching funds to address problems associated with repeated flooding and resulting property damage. The Seward Bear Creek Flood Service Area worked with local residents to determine if this project would be a worthwhile investment and helped to prioritize available federal, state and borough funding.
The land acquired in this project will be owned by the borough. The Natural Resources Conservation Service will hold a conservation easement which will prevent future development in this flood prone area. Flood response services will not be affected because of this floodplain acquisition project.
Property owners should understand the risks of flooding before building in flood prone areas. Seward Bear Creek Flood Service Area Board Chairman Bill Williamson reminds area residents that they can call, e-mail or stop by the Flood Service Area Office in the Seaview Plaza Building to get information regarding flood hazards and the National Flood Insurance Program. Flood Service Area staff Stephanie Presley and Dan Mahalak can provide information to help property owners become knowledgeable about some of the risks particular to individual properties. For Flood Service Area information contact Presley or Mahalak at 224-3340 or firstname.lastname@example.org.