|FLOODING PROBLEMS DISCUSSED|
TRIBUTARIES TO FLOODING DISCUSSED 9-28-15 LMS
After all these years, the normally well contained Kidís Creek has reached a flood stage twice in five months and officials are trying to determine why.
The first flood occurred last February and was caused by a sudden shift in temperatures that sent almost all the mountain snows to the valley in one day. Some major damages were sustained by homes along Kidís Creekís path to the Salmon River when the culverts and channel were unable to handle the extremely high flow. Then in July a rainfall of just under an inch in 24 hours caused flood conditions in the same area. The sandbags left from February prevented damages but the fact that amount of rain caused a flood threat has officials investigating possible contributing factors.
City of Salmon Mayor Leo Marshall and Councilman Fred Waidely visited the September 28 meeting of the Lemhi County Commissioners and discussed potential causes with Commissioner Chairman Rick Snyder and Commissioner Ken Miner.
Waidely is Chairman of the cityís Public Works Team which has been investigating possible flooding causes and effects. He said it appears that the amount of water coming from the area of the airport if fairly excessive. He said no matter the cause the water needs to be channeled another way before it reaches town. Waidely acknowledged that would be expensive.
He said two water sources have been identified. One is the head-gate on the Salmon River in the Shoup Bridge area and the other is the Lemhi River flow that runs toward the Golf Course and Cemetery. Waidely said some water, but not much, comes from springs at Kidís Creek. He said a good amount of water accumulates in the area of Cycles, Sleds and Saws. He was told water in that area comes from both the Lemhi and the Salmon rivers which then flow north towards town through culverts and ditches along Highway 93 South.
Waidely said if the water coming into town in the Summer could be reduced it would lessen the potential for Kidís Creek floods.
The commissionersí first question was about whether or not the property owners along Kidís Creek are keeping the stream clear of debris. Miner suspects overgrowth problems are coming from people who are not maintaining their portion of the ditch correctly thus allowing blockages to restrict flows, causing water to back up. Snyder agreed that it will take land owner efforts and participation.
Waidely said the city has been working with property owners along the creek. He said some are cooperating and some donít want their shore line or stream bed trees touched. The city has offered to provide backhoes or whatever is needed. Snyder said those residents should avail themselves of that offer.
Both Waidely and Marshall said this year they have observed higher than normal water levels in several places including the area of the Blue Cross Veterinary Clinic. Marshall said he doesnít remember Kidís Creek ever flooding. County Clerk Terri Morton reminded everyone of frequent floods around Ackís Auction due to the water not being able to get through to Kidís Creek.
Road and Bridge Supervisor Kerrie Cheney was in attendance and he pointed out the irrigation flows south of town have been in existence for over a hundred years. He said since the amount of irrigation is regulated he doesnít think the irrigators are adding any more water than in years past. He wondered if the culvert installed by the state in the Highway 93-Kidís Creek area has added to the flows.
As far as upstream tributaries Snyder said the ranchers and water masters have years of data to show water flows. Miner cited another increase in flow may have come when the golf course converted its irrigation water source to wells. He said that may have put more flow into the Lemhi River.
City/County Building Administrator Gary Goodman mentioned there are numerous natural springs at the base of the cemetery as well as in the Demick Lane area. He said he has noticed an increased flow of water from those sources this year. He cited the ground water levels that are very close to the surface in the area of Salmon River Propane and Blue Cross and said they could most likely be contributing to the amount of water in Kidís Creek. Goodman said the entire hot springs drainage, which contains a lot of land mass, also ends up in Kidís Creek. He said in his mind the simple solution is to clean the Kidís Creek ditch and make it big enough to handle the flows.
There is another bottom-line solution available but Goodman wouldnít want to see it implemented. In cases where a flooding threat has been identified and the property owner refuses to do anything about it, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) allows public entities to remove the threat. Such a property owner can also be held liable for damages caused by a refusal to remedy the flood threat or refusal to allow a public entity, such as the city, to act.
The cityís Public Works Team will continue to investigate and work with property owners along Kidís Creek.
The commissioners complimented the city on its proactive approach to the Kidís Creek situation.
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