If Star Valley town council approves the funding, homeowners living on the banks of streambeds could see crews later this year removing debris and sandbars badly choking the creeks.
The Floodwater Task Force hopes to begin work at the south end of town and in small sections, remove brush, trash and anything impeding the flow of water through the creek that is within the Army Corps of Engineer guidelines.
“We want to stay away from having to get government approval so we won’t do any construction, grading or redistributing,” said Gary Rolf, task force member.
Using $50,000, Rolf said the task force would start small, completing work in 10 to 20 percent of the creek south of Highway 260.
Once all the kinks in the project were worked out, they would take on larger sections in subsequent years.
Rolf’s announcement comes as a huge boost to homeowners, some of which have asked the town to clear the creeks for years. Some homeowners are seeing their property wash away every year due to flooding.
The town previously said it couldn’t do anything due to strict federal regulations.
However, Rolf said after meeting with the Army Corps, they were “perfectly encouraged to keep trash out” of the creek as well as sandbars as long as the sand is not redistributed elsewhere.
“We are finally getting around to doing something in the wash,” he said.
“We want to keep the flow where it is naturally.”
For each project, the task force will generate a detailed scope of work for review by the council and town manager. With their approval, the task force would notify homeowners and get written approval.
“Minor trash and personal item removal would potentially be performed by owners or volunteers,” Rolf said.
Work requiring power tools and heavy machinery would be contracted out to the lowest bidder.
“Work on each project/section will have oversight by town staff and the task force committee for compliance to the scope,” Rolf said.
Long term, installing four detention basins in the north end of town is the only real way to prevent flooding, however, due to cost, the likelihood of funding detention basins in the next three to five years is unlikely, Rolf said.
“It is more like six to 10 years for it to happen,” he said.
The task force drew this conclusion after spending $5,000 for a feasibility study by Verde Engineering.
“We learned a lot through it, but mainly that we are not ready to do it,” he said. “We intend to continue discussion of this plan over the next year with additional recommendations from the committee as they develop.”
The task force is just one committee asking for funding in Star Valley’s next fiscal year.
Streets and Roads is asking for at least $200,000 for several projects.
Council is just beginning budget discussions and should hold two public work sessions on the issue in the coming months.