The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Robert Reisner
Clear Creek 

SBCFSA works at flood mitigation

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Hello again my water soaked fellow citizens. The recent flood that effected our community caused much damage to our local public infrastructure, businesses and private property, and led to the death of some of our wildlife. Levees were breached, roads flooded, driveways washed out and many along our floodplain fled to safer shelters within Seward.

At Clear Creek, flood conditions appeared on Sept. 19-20 due to a major breach in the Box Canyon levee. Many fled while I remained since I still had electric, well and septic fully functional throughout this 2012 flood event.

While some of you may believe that the rain was the main cause of this event, the real cause is to the millions of cubic yards for glacier- and mountain-supplied gravel and rock. Each year surrounding glaciers produce around 4 million cubic yards of gravel and debris material. All of which has been a major drainage situation within the upper Resurrection Bay watershed since the flood of Oct. 17, 1986 (The Great Seward Yard Swap). This was our fabled 500-year flood event that caused so much damage that it did appear on national news. During this flood event several local streams “moved” due to gravel filling in streambeds.

In 1995, and many times since flooding has occurred, moving a lot of material in our local streams. Every flood kills the salmon eggs in our watershed and destroys much of our estuary habitat, and is now killing many of our trees due to our streams being packed full of gravel.

Our Seward Bear Creek Flood Service Area (SBCFSA) is very well aware of our situation and is moving toward streambed mitigation on the Salmon Creek watershed. This includes all streams flowing into Salmon Creek. However, our SBCFSA is awaiting state and federal approval for this to take place. We all know that government moves very slow in matters such as these. As for your SBCFSA (our local 98-pound whelp) they’ve crossed very “T,” dotted every “I,” filed required plans, studies and side projects. Recently the SBCFSA staff filed a permit, I should say a book — it was 150 pages long! Now, that’s what I call ridiculous.

When you examine all the various departments and agencies that have a say in our stream hazard flood mitigation, you’ll discover that they cannot properly work together in a fair and balanced manner on a borough or state level, let alone the federal level. Lord help us if we need United Nations approval or the OK from the intergalactic court on the dark side of Cyris 6. (We haven’t seen E.T. lately, but Paul appeared recently.)

With the Aug. 7 Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting, our SBCFSA finally received the parcel needed for mitigation and our KPB mayor is seeking funding through the State of Alaska, as is our very own Mac Eads! Sue McClure (KPB Assembly representative for the eastern Kenai Peninsula) is moving with us like Wonder Woman. How she can do all that for our community is wonderful!

Now, my dear readers, please understand that our SBCFSA is moving forward, slowly, thanks to our past and present members, as well as, our past and present KPB mayors and representatives.

As for myself, I am not backing down or calling a retreat. I am here to make sure that flood hazard mitigations starts at the first real opportunity. We need to improve our quality of life. This is the one issue that affects all of us on so many levels.

Yup. Our 98-pound whelp is going to win. We just don’t know what round we’re in.

Come on down to the SBCFSA public meetings that are held every first and third Monday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Sea View Plaza. There’s two sections in the agenda for public comment, and they got cookies! Rarely do we have a Lawrence Welk Show type of meeting. Sometimes it really hits the fan! The one on Sept. 17 was a doozy!

Remember, October is our historical flood month. So buckle up!

 

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