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Many residents along Jesse Creek are having to pay top dollar for FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Administration) mandated flood insurance. Larry Wade of Wade Surveying has questioned the need for the insurance for some time and at the May 4 meeting of the Salmon City Council he reported results of his investigation and the subsequent need for a flood plain map revision.

Wade told council members he has run elevations from the city limits to where Jesse Creek meets the Salmon River. He said the water is running down a fairly steep grade of five percent. Wade provided a FEMA map that pinpoints the Jesse Creek/ Salmon River intersection with a note that says “limit of detailed study.” In fact, according to Wade, Jesse Creek has never, ever been studied as to whether or not the creek is susceptible to flooding and it is not shown on the county’s flood plain map.

Wade said he was presenting the information to the council for all the people who live on Jesse Creek and are having to pay for flood insurance where the chances of flooding are somewhere between ‘slim and none.’ He said, “When you have a rush of water, a big rush of water, it’s going to go downhill. It’s not going to go sideways. It’s going to go down.”

Wade quoted a letter from Aaron Skinner, an Idaho Department of Water Resources Flood Plain specialist, in which Skinner recommended a hydrologic and hydraulic (H&H) analysis be performed on the zone the city would like removed from the flood plain designation. Skinner said the analysis would serve to determine base flood elevations and better delineate what this special flood base area boundary will be. Skinner said he tended to agree with Wade’s opinion that flood waters travel down vertical flows rather than horizontally and that fact needs to be shown to FEMA by way of a H&H Study.

Wade has procured a H&H Study cost estimate of $6,720 from Northwest Engineering of Salmon. He gave the council the name of the US Army Corps of Engineers person to contact and ask if the Corps would be interested in doing the map revision study free of charge.

Wade said having such a study done would benefit everyone who lives along Jesse Creek and is having to pay for flood insurance. He said multiple thousands of dollars are being sent to FEMA for no apparent reason.

The council passed a motion to contact the US Army Corps of Engineers in Walla Walla, Washington, with the city’s flood plain map revision request. Wade offered to continue to help in any way he can.

In other business before the council, on the advice of City Clerk Mary Benton and City Attorney Fred Snook a motion was unanimously passed to enter into a draft consent agreement with the Environmental Protection Administration. The agreement has been negotiated by County Prosecutor Bruce Withers. Included in the motion was the council’s decision to continue with Withers consultations and granting Mayor Leo Marshall the authority to execute the final agreement at the appropriate time.

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