City of Cassville starts gravel removal project after creek flooding
March 2, 2016
After two extremely damaging floods in 2015, the City of Cassville is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to remove excess gravel in the creeks around Cassville as well as implement a creek management system to prevent future flooding.
Cassville Public Works director Steve Walensky said that the move is to return water flow to normal in the various creeks but also start a management program that will hopefully prevent such damaging floods in the future. He said that from asking other people, no major restorative work has been done in the seven valleys since the 1980’s.
Walensky said the move was essential to the area with the recent damage. Some of the bridges around the city have so much gravel accumulated from the floods that water is not able to flow at all. Some 15-foot pillars are covered up to the 14-foot mark. Gravel, as well as debris, will be removed from the creek, and then there will be catch basins dug on either side of the bridge to hopefully prevent debris and gravel build-up and flooding in the future.
At least some of the work will have to be bid out to contractors because there is not enough manpower with Public Works to remove it all.
He said, “We need bigger equipment and more stall to get this accomplished; and it’s time sensitive. I’m worried if we have another flood with the way things are now.”
Walensky said, “We can bid the gravel removal by the cubic yard or by hours, but it’s really hard to even begin to guess how much gravel there is. I’ve gotten in contact with people to help me even get an idea as to how to bid this.” Walensky was in contact with the City Council members before they began the project.
“It’s a huge breakthrough to get this approval from the Corps. I couldn’t be happier.” With the U.S. Army Corps’ blessing, the City will be able to remove the excess creek gravel without a permit.
Walensky was working to get approval to start on the creeks after the July flood, but just got the final go-ahead last week from the Corps. He said, “It took getting someone down here to see what we’re dealing with to get them to understand.” Once a Corps representative saw the way the city wanted to do the project, they were given the green light.
The next hurdle will be working on a funding source for the project. Walensky said that he is looking into different grant options, some city funding but also wants to approach business and property owners. Management of the creeks will ideally prevent a lot of flood damage in the future if a plan can be implemented.
He said, “It is clear that we need to take immediate action on this. I’m very concerned because another flood with the creeks the way they are now could be devastating.”
Walensky added, “We aren’t changing the path of creek, just restoring it. We may cut a tree during the project, but we’ll leave the stump so the roots can help maintain that stabilization of the bank.”
The project is a large one, and bidding out contractors to assist will be brought up at the next Cassville City Council meeting in March.
Walensky said, “There’s a lot of work to do and part of the issue is that this hasn’t been proactively managed. We need to change that.”