HELENA — Lewis & Clark County is asking for public comment on its developing flood mitigation plan for Elk Creek and Augusta. After significant flooding in recent years, the county decided it was time to invest in a better plan.
County leaders are soliciting public comments on existing conditions and the possible mitigation opportunities.
Augusta has a history of significant flooding dating back to 1948, and three major floods over the past 10 years.
One reason the Augusta area is prone to flooding is its location. It sits in a wide flat area on the Rocky Mountain Front with Elk Creek, a tributary of the Sun River, running through town.
A few of the options officials are looking to include regular debris removal and culvert maintenance of many irrigation ditches in the area and expanding current infrastructure to route excess floodwaters away from town. One option could include aligning Highway 287, one of the major routes into town that crosses over Elk Creek.
Recent floods damaged or destroyed a bridge temporarily cutting off travel to the town from the south.
Alexa Noruk, Disaster & Emergencies Services Coordinator for Lewis & Clark County, says that public comment is necessary so that they know how their plans could impact the area.
“The best people to tell us about what happened in past disasters are the people that experienced them. They’re the people that are going to face those impacts moving forward should we have another flood this year, next year. They know how water moves in their community and especially on their property more than we do. … So, it's really important for them to tell us what happened, and what they think is driving some of that. They may see things in the community that even the best contractors can't see 'cause they're not there every day,” says Noruk.
If you live in the affected area, you can find the online survey through Friday, March 18th by clicking here.